Intervertebral disc degeneration is cell mediated cascade of biochemical, mechanical and structural changes that disrupts its function. These changes are difficult to overturn; consequently, early diagnosis is key for the success of any treatment. Clinically, disc degeneration is diagnosed by the interpretation of morphological changes observed in T2 weighted MR images. However, those changes in morphology are characteristic of moderate to advanced stages of degeneration. Therefore, this method is not useful to diagnose early stages of disc degeneration.

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