Baastrup disease


Baastrup sign (kissing spines) refers to an orthopaedic condition / radiological sign with enlargement and approximation of adjacent spinous processes with normal intervertebral disc height and neuroforamina

Baastrup disease usually affects the lumbar spine (L3-5 most commonly affected); secondary to degenerative changes; and most often associated with the elderly

History of Baastrup disease

1825 – Mayer reported on fluid filled cavities between overgrown lumbar spinous processes in soldiers with back pain. Mayer described the phenomenon as ‘diarthrosis interspinosae’

1929James Frederick Brailsford (1888-1961) described findings of ‘interspinous arthritis‘ in patients with back pain exacerbated in extension and alleviated in flexion. He termed the physical anomaly ‘kissing spines

1933 – Danish radiologist Christian Ingerslev Baastrup (1855–1950) described pathologic changes that occur in adjacent lumbar spinous processes and the soft tissues between them, which are associated with back pain. Demonstrated on radiologic assessment of patients who had pain in the back when standing erect, which was relieved by bending forward.

Associated Persons

Alternative names
  • Interspinous bursitis (diarthrosis interspinosae) (Mayer, 1825)
  • Kissing spines (Brailsford, 1929)
  • Baastrup sign (Baastrup, 1933)
  • Baastrup syndrome, Morbus Baastrup
  • Michotte syndrome
  • Osteoarthrosis interspinosa


Original articles

Review articles

  • Filippiadis DK et al. Baastrup’s disease (kissing spines syndrome): a pictorial review. Insights Imaging. 2015;6(1):123–128. [PMC4330238]
  • Singla A et al. Baastrup’s disease: The kissing spine. World J Clin Cases. 2014;2(2):45–47 [PMC3936220]
  • Carrolll JF. Baastrup’s Disease. MRI Web Clinic. Dec 2017
  • Bell DJ, Gaillard F. Baastrup syndrome. radiopaedia.org (2018)



the names behind the name

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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