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


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

1929: Brailsford described findings of ‘interspinous arthritis‘ in patients with back pain exacerbated in extension and alleviated in flexion. He termed the physical anomoly ‘kissing spines

1933: Danish radiologist Christian Ingerslev Baastrup 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


eponymictionary CTA 2


medical etymology

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a 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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