I went to an orthopedic doctor who ordered a cervical MRI and I cannot fully understand the results. They are as follows:
C3-C4: Central disc protrusion is present at this level that extends to the cord. There is no lateral nerve root compression.
C4-C5: Small central disc protrusion is present at this level with enroachment to the ventral subarachnoid space. No lateral nerve root compression.
C5-C6: Decrease in signal intensity at this disc space compatible with degenerative change with minimal disc bulge.
C6-C7: Central disc protrusion with enroachment to the ventral subarachnoid space without lateral nerve root compression.
Impression: Reversal to lordosis with disc protrusion at C3-C4, C4-5, C6-C7 levels.
I understand what disc protrusions are and that no nerve root compression is a good thing, but what I don't understand is what does the C3-C4 protrusion mean when "it extends to the cord."
Also, what is a protrusion "with enroachment to the ventral subarachnoid space" mean.
My doctor ordered this MRI 9 months ago and told me that the MRI showed the backwards curvature of the spine but otherwise "unremarkable." It was not until I requested a copy of my MRI with the report that I found out about all this. I certainly wouldn't call this unremarkable as I believe I understand that disc bulges, or protrusions, should be very careful because the next step is herniation. I have done PT for 3 months after this MRI which helped a little but I still have chronic neck pain and I think my chronic dizziness/off balance feeling is related to my neck problem because when my neck is bad, my off balance feeling gets worse. If someone could help me out a little to explain those results, I would be very thankful!
By the way, I am only 26 years old and already have two herniated discs in my lumbar (L4-L5, L5-S1) which are being treated by a different MD.
Just based on the radiologist's report, I'd have to agree with the doc that it's "unremarkable".
<< "with enroachment to the ventral subarachnoid space" >>
The subarachnoid space is that space between the membrane surrounding the brain and the brain itself. This continues down the spinal canal, with the SS being between the membrane (the thecal sac) and the spinal cord. The SS should be filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and - in the spine - surves as a buffer between intrusions (such as disk bulges) and the spinal cord.
The radiologist thinks that you have disks bulging backward into the SS. At C3-4, the bulge crosses the SS (in front, at least, the "ventral" side) and touches the spinal cord. The next three levels down have disk bulges into the SS, but not far enough to reach the cord.
Maybe I'm missing something (if I am, the ordering doc is too), or maybe the radiologist missed something, but I'd even go so far as to call your MRI "benign". Perhaps not so good for a 26-year-old, though. You need to keep on top of it, as you may develop real cervical spinal problems quite a bit earlier than most people do.
Last edited by WebDozer; 01-28-2013 at 12:49 PM.
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