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Torg Ratio Radiographic Measurement for Determining Spinal Stenosis


  • The Torg ratio is one of several radiographic methods that can be used to assess the presence of spinal cord stenosis and/or likelihood for spinal cord compression when interpreting an MRI.
  • It is known as the spinal canal to vertebral body ratio and is determined by dividing the sagittal diameter of the spinal canal by the sagittal diameter of the vertebral body.
  • A ratio of < 0.8 or 0.7 indicates significant spine stenosis and increase risk for neurologic injury.

Torg Ratio

    Anatomical Image: C3 Cervical Vertebrae


    • Line (a) = sagittal diameter of the spinal canal
    • Line (b) = sagittal diameter of the vertebral body
    • Gray Dashed Oval = represents the sagittal diameter of the spinal cord that comes from an MRI

    Note: The Torg ratio is also commonly used with the SAC to determine the presence or degree of severity of cervical spine stenosis.

    Related Content

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    1. Pavlov H et al. Cervical spinal stenosis: determination with vertebral body ratio method. Radiology 1987;164(3):771-5.  PubMed 
    2. Castro FP Jr et al. Stingers, the Torg ratio, and the cervical spine. Am J Sports Med 1997;25(5):603-8.  PubMed
    3. Torg JS et al. Cervical cord neurapraxia: classification, pathomechanics, morbidity, and management guidelines. J Neurosurg 1997;87(6):843-50.  PubMed


    Editors & Reviewers

    Editors:  Anthony J. Busti, MD, PharmD, FNLA, FAHA
    Last Updated:  June 2015