Hi..I just received the result of my spinal MRI. I do not know what it means so I would appreciate if someone can help interpret the result and what steps I should consider moving forward. I sustained some injury over 30 years ago when I was 18 but did not seek complete treatment. Since then my right leg is extremely sensitive (knee jerk test) and I cannot control my bowels or urination once it reaches the critical point, thus the reason for my recent MRI. Do I have any major spinal/nerve disorder?:
Here is the result:
The conus medullaris terminates at L1, presuming conventional segmentation. Vertebral body heights and alignment are normal. Diskogenic changes are seen at the adjacent endplates at L1-2, L2-3, L3-4, L4-5, and L5-S1, worst at L4-5. Schmorl's nodes are noted in the superior endplates at
L4 and L5. Mild L2-3 and L3-4 and moderate L4-5 disk space narrowing is present. There is diffuse disk desiccation from L2 to L5. Prominent spurring is noted anteriorly from L1 to L5.
At T11-12 and T12-L1, no significant disk bulges are seen. The central canal and neural foramina are patent. Direct axial interrogation was performed at the following levels:
L1-2: No significant disk bulge. Central canal and neural foramina are patent. Mild bilateral facet joint hypertrophy.
L2-3: There is a mild diffuse disk bulge with a superimposed left paracentral component, resulting in mild narrowing of the left side of the central canal at this level. Mild to moderate bilateral facet joint hypertrophy and mild bilateral ligamentum flavum hypertrophy is noted. These changes result in slight narrowing of the left lateral recess and left neural foramen. The right foramen is patent.
L3-4: There is a minimal diffuse disk bulge. Mild to moderate bilateral facet joint hypertrophy and mild bilateral ligamentum flavum hypertrophy is noted. These changes result in minimal narrowing of the central canal, slightly narrowing of each lateral recess, and minimal right and mild left neural foraminal stenosis.
L4-5: There is a mild diffuse disk bulge. Moderate facet joint and mild ligamentum flavum hypertrophy is noted bilaterally. These changes result in mild narrowing of each neural foramen, slight narrowing of each lateral recess, and mild central canal stenosis at this level.
L5-S1: There is a minimal broad-based posterior disk bulge. Moderate bilateral facet joint hypertrophy is present. There is minimal narrowing of the right neural foramen. The central canal and left foramen are patent.
Welcome to the board. As I'm sure you know, none of us are trained medical professionals, just fellow spineys. Whatever you read on this board is the opinion of a member, based on his or her personal experiences.
Nothing jumps out at me on your radiology report that would indicate any BIG issue with your lumbar spine. Most things mentioned could be lumped into the category of degenerative issues. Unfortunately for our species, when we started walking on two feet, it was the beginning of spinal problems. The presence of gravity is not in our species' favor...and according to research, our spines begin the degenerative process in our twenties. After this point, it is down hill, going faster for some than others.
Your report shows signs of disc degeneration and some of the things that go along with it...discs beginning to dry out, early signs of arthritic changes, formation of bone spurs, etc. While all these things can be uncomfortable, they are not necessarily signs of big trouble, or trouble to come. There are certain adjectives that are used in spinal MRIs that are buzz words for how "bad" something is. "Mild" and "moderate" indicate there is something indicated on MRI that is worth mentioning...but it would be something that is worth following, rather than something that needs to be treated.
The one red flag to me is not on your radiology report, but in your description of some of your symptoms. Since you mention issues with bladder or bowel control, I would urge you to find information online pertaining to "cauda equina syndrome." This is one of the few lumbar spine problems that is considered a medical emergency. I would encourage you to read up on all the symptoms and discuss it with your doctor if your symptoms are similar.
Very briefly, the spinal cord ends around the Lumbar 1 vertebra. Beyond this level, the spinal canal continues, with the spinal nerves coming together rather like a bundle of cables behind a desk or TV can come together and form one thick "cable". This is called the cauda equina (horse's tail, because this is what it resembles). These nerves carry signals to the pelvic area, genitals, bowel and bladder, hips, buttocks, legs, ankles and feet. When one or more nerve is compressed due to a herniated disc, stenosis, inflammation, etc. it can effect any of these areas and functions...so, if you are having sudden loss of control of bladder or bowel, or other similar issues, the patient needs to seek medical attention right away. If the nerve compression is not relieved, the damage can become permanent...so, for this reason, every person who has lower lumbar issues should know the symptoms of Cauda Equina syndrome!
I trust you will be seeing the doctor who ordered the MRI soon for a discussion of the findings, and further treatment. I'm just telling you how I would understand what you transcribed above.
Good luck and please come back and let us know how you are doing.