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Old 09-30-2010, 07:22 PM   #1
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please help with mri results of thoracic spine

Hi,
If anyone would please help me understand the results of my mri of the thoracic spine I would be so grateful!
I'm in so much pain in this area and have struggled for 4 years since I had cervical fushion for c5/c6. after that surgery it moved down to this area and i'm
having horrible pain in the thoracic area along with numbness down back, heavy arms and tingling,numbness.
numbness and weakness in legs with footdrop. loss of balance,severe spasticity in legs and arms. the dr. reviewed my mri and said no one would do any type of surgery for it..so what is left, just suffer? I take tramadol for pain but hardly touches the pain. his offering was for physical therapy to try and regain my balance. I can hardly drive with my arms, so weak and have lost my grip. leg drags with the footdrop and I am constantly tripping. well I'm sorry this is so long just needed to vent and also please get opinion on mri..maybe it's not as bad as I feel it is..just know I'm having a hard time coping. dr. said it should not be causing this much trouble-please give opinion. any at all..thank you!
(also had carpal tunnel surgery/both hands..did not help.)
mri results-
moderate right paracentral disc protrusion @t6/7 which causes mild mass effect on the anterior portion of the spinal cord this level.
mild left paracentral disc bulge @t7/8 is stable with mild indention of the anterior thecal sac.
right paracentral disc protrusion @t8/9 causes impression on thecal sac and is abutting the spinal cord and is stable in appearance.
spinal cord is normal in size and signal.
IMPRESSION- STABLE DISC PROTRUSIONS @ T6/7, 7/8 & T8/9

 
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:39 PM   #2
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Re: please help with mri results of thoracic spine

I can see why he said no one will touch your back. Basically, you have 3 herniated disks in your thoracic spine but all they do it press against the spinal cord or the sac that surrounds the spinal cord. I know that sounds bad but they usually wait for the disks to press so hard against the cord that it is flattened down. The cord is about 11-12 mms in the neck and gets smaller as it goes down through your back so it can get very compressed before they have to do surgery. I was 6mms in my neck before they did surgery. Your MRI shows the cord to be normal in size and the MRI signal showed no damage at all to the tissue.

To do surgery on the thoracic spine means having to open your chest and pull out the lung(and heart if that is in the way too) and you risk major complications in doing it. There are some new instruments that are coming into use that allow the docs to operate from the outside of the chest and also some new surgeries that go in from the back...but you can't reach a bad disk form the back....all you can do is make more room for the cord. The longer you wait the better the surgeries will become to treat it.

But here is the reality....spine docs don't operate for pain. They operate when there is a danger that a nerve or the cord will face permanent damage if they don't. In other words, they operate to prevent paralysis. When something like a disk or bone spur presses on a nerve or the spinal cord, it can eventually cause the nerve or cord to lose it's blood supply if the pressure is severe enough. At that point, the nerve or cord, will die. So they wait as long as possible until they see symptoms of the nerve or cord dying and then they operate. Statistically, you have a 3% chance of ending up paralyzed just from the surgery so they don't want to do anything until you are really bad.

Sounds like you need to get into pain management. Those docs can help you find the right meds to control the pain along with epidural injections of cortisone that can lessen pain substantially and PT and other pain relieving methods. I've done acupuncture and all sorts of things in the past and many help a lot.

Have you had MRI's of your neck and lumbar area as well? You should if you haven't. One bad area of the spine will often lead to other bad areas. And it might be worth seeing a neurologist to see if your systemic symptoms are brain related. Rule out every other possibility so you know it is the spine.

I know this isn't want you want to hear(we all want to be "fixed") but in the thoracic, that is tougher than any other area of the spine. Docs are even more reluctant to do anything until they absolutely have to. I'm in the same boat with my thoracic.

Sorry for the bad news.....................Jenny

 
Old 10-01-2010, 09:00 PM   #3
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Re: please help with mri results of thoracic spine

hi jennybyc,
you don't know how much I appreciate your help!!
I'm been shifted from neurologist to reumatologist to a orthopeadic that I'm completely feel hopeless and just grasping for a diagnosis to all this stuff thats happening to my body.
I had cervical fushion in 2007 on c5/c6 and carpal tunnel sugery in 2008. had releif from the cervical fushion but none from carpal tunnel..also showed on emg radial and ulner disease that the dr. said we should wait on surgery for. well the lumbar region I had xrayed in 2008 and it showed bulging in L3,4,5 but nothing the dr's thought was bad enough at that time to worry about. I was tripping alot when I was walking-the last few years and started dragging left leg, I thought something was wrong with my ankles but the podiatrist said I had foot drop and wondered if I had been tested for ms. my primary care dr. sent me to neuro and he assessed me and said he didn't think ms and sent me on my way. well the weakness in arms and legs keeps getting worse and the pain in my thoracic area is so horrible...contant tightness and pain. ankles and arms feel like a tight band wrapped around them and all go numb. well orthopaedic mentioned ms..said thoracic shouldn't be causing all these symptoms. my primary care dr. ordered a brain mri last year when neur wouldn't but it was clear. so now I'm back to neuro and he still says he doesn't think ms but will not do any test to dispute it. he wants me in physical therapy for 3 months(gait analysis?) and then come back. I'm so sorry to ramble on, I just feel all alone with whatever is going on. thats why I really appreciate you helping read the mri report. just praying someone will help me, I honestly feel like I'm losing all strength in my arms and legs.
sorry I've rambled in so many directions!
god bless you for your wisdom in helping me understand the mri report.
ps..praying for pain free days for you, as I can't imagine all you've been through(TOUGHER THAN I COULD BE!)
linda

Last edited by tnvalleygirl; 10-01-2010 at 09:18 PM.

 
Old 10-02-2010, 10:31 AM   #4
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Re: please help with mri results of thoracic spine

sorry i don't have alot of time right now. but hopefully will be able to get back to this tomorrow morning? just wondering EXACTLY what were the issues with that c 5 6 that required the fusion in the first place? and if you happen to have what was your pre op fusion MRI in your posession, could you type out what ALL of the findings along that c spine actually just were? knowing the full extent/impact upon that c spine seriously would help a ton here since anything to even just 'do' with your arms and esp any hand issue is all contained for the most part within that c spine and the first T spine nerves in what is referred to as the "brachial plexus'?

whatever ANY findings just were in that pre op c spine MRI report could actually at least also possibly explain what symptoms you are displaying NOW too? not all could be just 'only' from your T spine level impact alone? it sounds like from your description of symptoms here that 'something' could have possibly either damaged or impacted what is called the spinocerebellar tract within your cord(i have actual cerebellar tract damage and your symptoms really DO sound alot like mine?)? that is what i am wondering about here with that c spine and how truely impactful ANY hard findings just were stated then and also what that surgeon may have impacted during that particular surgery, depending upon what your findings wewre and how he had to 'fix' this too? if there was indeed any cord contact, it could explain alot. or what all of your actual 'findings' simply were/are up there too?

so if you DO happen to also have that c spine MRI, typing it out, at least the summary/conclusion portion at the end would really help alot in either ruling certain things/areas in or out as at least possible contributers for your symptoms, or at least "some" anyways. when it comes to actual "spinal only", any 'arm" symptoms(and esp finger) would almost have to be within that brachial plexus in order for them to even impact that area at all? but if/when that brain is actually involved, well that would be a totally different story in just what that could possibly produce depending. marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 10-03-2010, 06:19 PM   #5
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Re: please help with mri results of thoracic spine

tnvalleygirl

I would suggest that you return to the surgeon who did your cervical fusion surgery and get his/her opinion on your latest issues. If you have already seen this doctor, than maybe you should look into seeing a neurosurgeon. Make sure that you bring all of your old imaging studies. Inquire that if surgery is not the way to go than what other options can he/she offer to help alleviate your symptoms. Impress upon this doctor the disabilities that have developed and could it be possible that your problem may be again in your cervical spine and not your thoracic spine? Insist on having another cervical MRI done to check your previous fusion and to see what the health of the rest of your cervical spine.
I would also tell this doctor that another doctor thinks that your thoracic spine herniated disks can not be causing all the problems, however, if you had previous disk problems that required surgery, than what are the odds that you could possibly have developed further disk problems or maybe something happened with the current fusion?
Please keep fighting until you get some answers and some treatment. Believe me I know, I was suffering earlier this year, but I had a great neurologist who kept looking for the source of my discomfort and what was originally thought to be MS was actually a herniated cervical disk.
Which also brings up the issue of MS--you mentioned seeing a neurologist, was this neurologist knowledgeable in MS (multiple sclerosis). Some neurologist really do not know how to recognize MS symptoms. You really need to have an MRI of your head and a visual invoke study. Just another thought to explain your symptoms.
Please let me know how you are doing.
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:07 AM   #6
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Re: please help with mri results of thoracic spine

hey linda? just one really quick question here i forgeot to ask you? did they EVER actually check your c spine with a good flexion and sxtention type of x ray just to see for CERTAIN that both endplates of the "fusion' area actually DID fuse? without that one type of x ray being done,esp within that easy to spot c spine area, you really do NOT fully know, trust me. i had an inconclusive MRI that recommended a CT that actually did state i WAS fully fused upon the CT being done,when the whole time, i was ONLY actually fused at ONE of the two endplates? that flex and ext, was then ordered(should have been the very FIRST stupid test) that fully showed that i was NOT fused at one of them. nothing else BUT that flex type x ray really seems to show this in the very best ways.esp if there is no hardware, but even then, they CAN tell by the gapping that would show closer to the spine?

with no harware and done anterior approach with your initial surgery,they simply only have to take one close look at how your boney prominences fan out in the back, when you move your neck forward and backwards(they simply snap an x ray pic in each posistion)? it is very very EASY to tell a fused patient from non fused this way, trust me. just something to also consider considering your ongoing symptoms? esp if you are hearing ANY 'bone grinding' types of noises with intermittant radulopathic symptoms too since the bone plug is moving around in there? marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
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