Ligamentum flavum hypertrophy

Last revised by Raymond Chieng on 23 Apr 2023

Ligamentum flavum hypertrophy refers to abnormal thickening of the ligamentum flavum. If severe, it can be associated with spinal canal stenosis.


It is thought to be mostly from fibrosis caused by the accumulation of mechanical stress with the aging process, especially along the dorsal aspect of the ligamentum flavum. 

The thickness of the ligamentum flavum increases with age and this increase is thought to the most pronounced at the lower lumbar levels 3. Ligamentum flavum is considered thickened when it is more than 4 mm in lumbar spine 3 and more than 1.7 mm in cervical spine 7.

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: causing lumbar spinal stenosis
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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