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Old 07-24-2012, 04:01 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2011
Location: So Cal
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Re: MRI help for a new comer

Lucie - The uncovertebral "joints" are really just the way the vertebrae fit together. C3-C7 have U-shaped ridges on their upper sides that kind of form "saddles" that the next disk/vertebra up "sit" in. This allows for some movement of one vertebra on top of another, but stabilizes each vertebra from moving too much. Since there's a lot of movement, over time, osteoarthritis will set in and bone growths (osteophytes) will be added on. These will project backward, possibly into the spinal canal and/or the foramina (the openings in the side of the spine through which pass the spinal nerves).

The radiologist says that at C5-6 you have mild spinal stenosis. I would assume that he means mild spinal CANAL stenosis, which means that your spinal canal is a little bit narrowed. Actually, 9.8mm AP (front-to-back) is fairly narrow. I suspect that your canal was too narrow to start out with (a not-uncommon hereditary condition), so it didn't take much of an intrusion from the osteophytes to get it down that low.

The C5-6 level is the ONLY level where this radiologist seems to think you even MIGHT have a problem. Even there, he does NOT say that your spinal cord is affected (only the CANAL in which the cord sits) and he does NOT say that the nerve roots are affected (radiculopathy) where they pass through the foramina.

If the canal stenosis at C5-6 is indeed affecting the cord (the radiologist DEFINITELY should say that if he thinks so), and the stenosis is fairly serious, it could explain most of your symptoms, but the report really does not support that.

Long story short, your extensive and long-lasting symptoms do NOT seem to be explained by your cervical MRI..... AT LEAST NOT THE WAY THE RADIOLOGIST WROTE IT UP. Maybe the radiologist read your MRI poorly, or maybe he habitually understates things. Maybe he read someone else's by mistake.

I'd strongly suggest calling the GP who referred you to the surgeon, telling him you have the radiologist's report in front of you, and asking him EXACTLY what it is on the report caused him to think you need a surgeon. (or is he just going by your symptoms?)

My concern would be that there may be something else going on with you - separate from any cervical spinal problems - and it would be a shame to wait for months only to find out you've been waiting for the wrong doc.

Last edited by WebDozer; 07-24-2012 at 04:03 PM.