Re: Explanation of MRI results
Welcome to the board.
Briefly, you have a condition that has a very long name: spondylolisthesis. This just means that one vertebra is slipping over the top of the adjacent vertebra. It happens most often at the L4-L5 segment of the spine.
The disc at this level, between the L4 and L5 vertebrae, is bulging and it is pushing into the central spinal canal and causing stenosis. Stenosis is a narrowing of a pathway where the nerves are located....I like to think of stenosis as being like an old iron pipe that has become chuck full of mineral deposits and other gunk through the years until it becomes so compacted that only a small trickle of water can get through. To increase the flow someone has to use a tool and clean out all the gunk from the sides of the pipe until it is open again.
There are two areas in the spine that can get clogged like this. One is the central canal, and the other is the foraminal openings located at each vertebra. Your report does not indicate just how clogged yours is -- sometimes a report will contain words like minimal, mild, moderate or severe.
In your case, the disc herniation is bulging out and pushing into the wall of the central canal which results in less room for the spinal nerves. If it pushes in far enough, the nerves get squished and the result is pain that you probably feel running down your leg -- what we think of as "sciatic pain." It can go into your buttock, down the leg and even into the foot and toes.
You don't mention your symptoms. I assume you are in some pain or you wouldn't have had a MRI. A spondylolisthesis does not necessarily cause any problems or pain. Often people don't know they have this condition until they have some spine imaging for another purpose and it is discovered by accident.
Also there is no description of the size of the herniation...so all I can tell you is that this is what you have and the doctor will need to figure out to what extent it is causing you problems.
You can find lots of information on disc herniations, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis online and in books if you want to find out in more detail.
When do you go back to see the doctor?