Re: Help to read my MRI report?
Welcome to the board. Do you know if your MRIs came from the same facility? Were earlier ones available to the doctor who looked at the new MRI? This is very important because MRI "interpretation" is somewhat subjective. Certain things can be measured, like the size of a ruptured disc, but other things, like stenosis, are subjectively diagnosed. It is possible (but not likely) that one doctor's "severe" may differ from another doctor's interpretation.
If the previous surgeons were explaining the recommendation for surgery, I would think they should have mentioned the possibility of paralysis to you. Any time the spinal cord is affected, one runs the risk of paralysis...so cervical issues always need to be examined in this light.
The reason for surgery when stenosis is severe is to prevent permanent nerve damage. If the nerve is not able to function, damage can occur to soft tissue, muscle, etc. along the path of the nerve. For example, if the L4 nerve is damaged, the person can end up with not only numbness or tingling, but the muscle can atrophy and/or become weak.
You definitely want to get the "suspicion of myelomalacia" figured out. This is done by MRI and/or myelography. This is a condition that would continue to deteriorate if left unchecked, but can be successfully dealt with surgically. It can result in paralysis if left undetected, so you want to specifically ask the new doctor about this finding.
The rest of your MRI is concerned with mostly degenerative changes that are contributing to the stenosis that exists in the central canal and in a number of the foraminal openings. The foramen are the openings through which the spinal nerves exit the spine and go out to the limbs and other areas of the body. Stenosis is a narrowing. This can be caused by several factors. A disc can bulge out of the disc space and press into a foraminal opening or into the central canal....a degenerating disc can form osteophytes which take up space that needs to be open so there is room for the nerves.
I'm not sure how to rate which level is more severe. You have "severe" neural foraminal stenosis at several levels...and in the central canal at other levels. My guess is that, if surgery is necessary, they will want to address all these issues at one time.
Last edited by teteri66; 10-06-2012 at 11:18 AM.