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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

A short while ago I read a post in which the poster stated they had a problem at L6. The poster was advised that it couldn't be L6 as the lumbar spine only has 5 levels. Well this short blurp explains how not all of us have the same anatomy.

One of the most common causes for medical negligence is operating at the wrong level. Most patients have five lumbar vertebrae followed by the solid segments of the sacrum. About 5% of the population will have six lumbar vertebrae where one of the sacral segments is lumbarized or four lumbar vertebrae where the lowest lumbar segment is sacralized. This can confuse the surgeon. The radiographs may show the disc protrusion say at L4/5 level. If the fifth lumbar vertebra is sacralizred and fixed to the sacrum, the surgeon may be confused and operate at the L3/4 disc by mistake.

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