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Weishaupt grading system of lumbar facet joint degeneration

Last revised by Joachim Feger on 14 Dec 2022

The Weishaupt grading system is a radiological classification system used for lumbar facet joint degeneration.

The Weishaupt grading system for lumbar facet joint degeneration can be used in CT and/or MRI 1,2.

  • grade 0: normal facet joint width (~2-4 mm)

  • grade 1: facet joint space narrowing, small osteophytes and/or articular process hypertrophy

  • grade 2: facet joint space narrowing, moderate osteophytes articular process hypertrophy and/or small subarticular bone erosions

  • grade 3: facet joint space narrowing, large osteophytes, severe articular process hypertrophy, subarticular bone erosions or subchondral cyst formation

This grading system for lumbar facet joint athropathy was developped by the Swiss researchers Dominik Weishaupt, Marco Zanetti, Norbert Boos and Jürg Hodler in 1999 2.

Important to consider the severity of lumbar facet joint osteoarthritis, especially before non-fusion spinal surgery, as facet joint osteoarthritis is a common cause of low back pain post-surgery 3.

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