Subarticular zone stenosis

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 9 Mar 2023

Subarticular zone stenosis is a form of spinal stenosis where there is narrowing of the subarticular zone, including the lateral recess. This may occur with or without other forms of spinal stenosis.


Nerve root compression at the lateral recess can occur in two morphological forms:

  • trefoil narrowing of the lateral recess

    • can be congenital or acquired

    • results from diminished anteroposterior dimension of the lateral canal

  • angular pinch-like encroachment of the lateral margin of the canal can lead to subsequent pinching of the nerve root

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