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Old 04-18-2006, 12:47 PM   #1
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Question C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Hi, I am new to the Message Boards but I am hoping that someone can help me understand what my recent C-spine MRI is saying in layman's terms. First I must say that originally I was in a slip & fall accident 1/2002. I had a couple small herniations (central) in C4-5 and C6-7 and a broad based disc herniation extending into both neural canals with no significant ventral cord encroachment at C5-6.

On 4/12/06, just last week I was rear-ended at 20-30 mph. They did a CT scan of my neck that turned up negative for any fractures, a brain MRI that came back negative, however the c-spine MRI came back with the following:

"The heart or C5-6: A broad-based disc protrusion is identified in the right lateral recess and into the right foramen. The neuroforamen is narrowed approximately one-third of its usual diameter. The disc indents the anterior aspect of the right lateral recess. The cord does not appear displaced. there is no flattening noted."

Of course I am not a doctor and I don't know what this means, but I do know that within 5 minutes of my PCP getting the results she set me up with an emergancy consult with a local neurosurgeon for Thursday morning. I do have right arm numbness, nausea, stiffness and tingling on my right side.

As one can imagine I am going through a great deal of anxiety at this point. I was told that there really isn't a conservative method to help a broad based herniation in the neck. I am on oral steriods, lortab and valium to help with the pain.

Any suggestions as to what is going on would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

Last edited by RosesOfAphrodit; 04-18-2006 at 12:53 PM.

 
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Old 04-18-2006, 01:04 PM   #2
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

I beleive the 'neuroforamen' refers to the path the nerve branch follows from the spinal cord, out through the vertebrae on its way to your should, arm, and hand. There is a nerve branch that exits at each level of vertebra in the neck, and the experts can often tell which level is being 'pinched' by what part of the arm, hand, and fingers are numb or tingling, or painful.

The fact that it looks narrower (reduced to 1/3, or reduced by 1/3?) on the MRI may be due to an injured disc, or sometimes by bone growths (osteophytes).

There are different ways to treat this (you will hear a lot of different opinions on this board), including time, therapy, drugs (both pharmaceutical and herbal), injections, and surgery, etc.

Sounds like you may be starting a journey like many of us here are already on. There are options, the key is to learn enough to make choices about the treatment that you are comfortable with. When you talk to the surgeon you will get more out of it if you can ask questions, so try to read up on this as much as you can.

Big thing is, don't panic! Chances are you will have different treatments you can choose from, but there are things that can be done for this condition.

This board is a good place to ask questions, lots of folks here that have experience, and they're more than willing to help.
Bob

 
Old 04-18-2006, 01:09 PM   #3
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Thanks Bob! I appreciate the reply and it was narrowed by a 1/3! Yeah I have been doing research unfortunately they don't give a lot of specifics on certain words used in the reports. But I continue to try. I have OCD so the better informed I am the better I feel. I'll research something to death if I have to!

Ana

 
Old 04-18-2006, 01:26 PM   #4
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Hello Ana:
If you do an interent seach on 'spine anatomy' you will see a number of sites that have lots of information. I've looked at almost all of them at one time or another, and I used those sites to look up each and every word on the MRI report that I didn't understand (that would be most of them, when this started for me). Just knowing the anatomy and what the reports mean will help you a lot, especially when you talk to people like surgeons!
Bob

 
Old 04-18-2006, 01:31 PM   #5
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Thanks Bob! I appreciate it! Ana

 
Old 04-18-2006, 02:02 PM   #6
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Ana
I remember my 1st time, and the feelings of anxiety when the surgeon reordered his scheduled surgeries to get me in sooner. Probably can't do much to help you with this feeling other than I know what it's like. Hang in there, the big hurdle is to get in to see someone and figure out the problem. You're already on that path, and help isn't too far off!
Bob

 
Old 04-18-2006, 02:05 PM   #7
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Thanks! I know that to get into a neurosurgeon anywhere here in Utah takes a few months to 9 months. I was surprised that they got me in within 4 days!! They must think something is seriously wrong and think that is what has me stressed the most!

Ana

 
Old 04-18-2006, 02:15 PM   #8
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

I also am in Utah. I know several people who have had this problem, and have had succesful surgeries, each with a different surgeon. I suspect you will have a 'happy ending' on this, but I don't know of any shortcuts to avoid the anxiety.

If it was a life threatening condition you would already be in someplace. Maybe it helps to think of it as 'urgent condition', but not necessarily an emergency?

It took me 1 week from the time my orthpedic Dr diagnoxed the problem, before I got in to see the neurosurgeon. The longest week in my life (so far!)

 
Old 04-18-2006, 02:17 PM   #9
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

I hear you there!!

 
Old 04-18-2006, 02:28 PM   #10
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Roses,

I may be wrong here, but I think that the disk is pressing into the cord.

This is not uncommon, particularly with car accidents, but something that most likely will need an expert opinion, which you are getting shortly.

Don't worry too much until you find out from an expert.

I know that doesn't help much, but it's the best advice I can give you.

Keep your searching up so you understand what they are talking about when you get there.

Dennis

 
Old 04-18-2006, 02:41 PM   #11
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Thanks Dennis,

I think part of it helps that I am a personal injury defense paralegal (defend the insurance company) and have a lot of resources where I have been doing research and from what I have been able to come up with, it doesn't sound too promising, but I am staying optamistic and hoping for the best!

Thanks, Ana

 
Old 04-18-2006, 07:45 PM   #12
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

All you need is the right MRI findings to get into an NS sooner - and a doctor who wants to help you get to see one fast is a good thing. As someone else suggested, do some research on the internet for spine anatomy - there are some good animations and diagrams out there. Stay calm, take care of yourself, and let us know how you are doing.
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Old 04-19-2006, 07:46 AM   #13
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RosesOfAphrodit
Thanks Dennis,

I think part of it helps that I am a personal injury defense paralegal (defend the insurance company) and have a lot of resources where I have been doing research and from what I have been able to come up with, it doesn't sound too promising, but I am staying optamistic and hoping for the best!

Thanks, Ana
Roses,

You know pretty well where you are at with this. I wouldn't say that it "doesn't sound promising". This can be repaired, with good results. Your NS will tell you your options. Don't worry too much until you get with him/her.

Keep us posted. This is a good resource for you, and there are many here who have gone through this and will be able to help you.

Dennis

Last edited by dennisgb; 04-19-2006 at 07:47 AM.

 
Old 04-19-2006, 09:26 AM   #14
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

Thanks everyone, tomorrow is the big day and I will let everyone know what the NS says. I am looking at it positively in that if surgery is the way I have to do it, so be it! I am ready for the challenge and will recover quickly (as is my style) can't keep me down long!

Thanks for all the wonderful support!

Ana

 
Old 04-21-2006, 07:31 AM   #15
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Re: C-Spine MRI results - HELP!!

I greatly appreciate everyone's words of support! I spent most of the day yesterday at St. Mark's Hospital. My appt with the neurosurgeon was at 9:30 am. He went over my MRIs with me, ran some tests (pin wheel, reflexes, etc.) and it turns out that I am worse off than anyone thought. Though the MRI images don't clearly show how bad the nerve is being pinched off, I am having significant problems in my right arm and hand. I have lost all feeling in my index finger and thumb (according to the pinwheel test), I have no strength when doing the thumb to pinky finger test, he broke right through that and my reflexes are next to none in that arm.

He sat me down and discussed my options. Considering I have been on Steriods, Valium and Lortab for a week and it's only getting worse he is extremely conserned there will be permanent damage to the nerve root. He did tell me that we could wait a couple weeks and see what happens, couple months or even a year or so. He did say the downfall of all that is permanent damage to my right arm. He was honest enough to say that Physical Therapy will not help a broad based disc herniation extending into the nerve root canal.

My physical therapist was called by my PCP upon getting the MRI results and he actually told me he refused to touch me until after surgery and this was BEFORE I met with the surgeon. My chiropractor was the same way. They both said the herniation was too large and they didn't want to risk paralyzing me by possibly treating the wrong way.

So given all this information, I sat down with my sister, I took her along for moral support and for a second pair of ears to listen to what the doc said so I didn't make any rash decisions. She told me that her fear was that I would lose part if not all of my right arm if I didn't go ahead with the surgery. Since the surgeon wasn't pushing it that I had to have it done like yesterday, but rather it was my choice as to when I wanted it done. I opted to have it done on Monday. He told me that since the steriods weren't helping there wasn't a whole lot more they could do conservatively and after much research I know he is right.

So Monday I go in for a C5-6 discectomy and fusion at a wonderful hospital here in Salt Lake City and I am hoping that when I wake up from surgery I can say "this was all worth it!"

Again I appreciate all your support, thoughts and prayers!!

Ana

 
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