Preventing L5-S1 discitis associated with sacrocolpopexy

Meadow M. Good, Travis A. Abele, Sunil Balgobin, Joseph I. Schaffer, Paul Slocum, Donald McIntire, Marlene M. Corton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective: To further characterize the anatomy of the fifth lumbar to first sacral (L5-S1) disc space and to provide anatomic landmarks that can be used to predict the locations of the disc, sacral promontory, and surrounding structures during sacrocolpopexy. Methods: The lumbosacral anatomy was examined in 25 female cadavers and 100 computed tomography (CT) studies. Measurements were obtained using the midpoint of the sacral promontory as a reference. Data were analyzed using Pearson χ, unpaired Student's t test, and analysis of covariance. Results: The average height of the L5-S1 disc was 1.8±0.3 cm (range 1.3-2.8 cm) in cadavers and 1.4±0.4 cm (0.3-2.3) on CT (P<.001). The average angle of descent between the anterior surfaces of L5 and S1 was 60.5±9 degrees (39.5-80.5 degrees) in cadavers and 65.3±8 degrees (42.6-88.6 degrees) on CT (P=.016). The average shortest distance between the S1 foramina was 3.4±0.4 cm in cadavers and 3.0±0.4 cm on CT (P<.001). The average height of the first sacral vertebra (S1) was 3.0±0.2 cm in cadavers and 3.0±0.3 on CT (P=.269). Conclusion: In the supine position, the most prominent structure in the presacral space is the L5-S1 disc, which extends approximately 1.5 cm cephalad to the true sacral promontory. During sacrocolpopexy, awareness of a 60-degree average drop between the anterior surfaces of L5 and S1 vertebra should assist with intraoperative localization of the sacral promontory and avoidance of the L5-S1 disc. The first sacral nerve can be expected approximately 3 cm from the upper surface of the sacrum and 1.5 cm from the midline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-290
Number of pages6
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2 PART 1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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