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    Old 01-20-2007, 05:55 AM   #1
    wldflowersdrm's Avatar
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    Unhappy Help Understanding My MRI Report

    I am new to this board and looking for some help in understanding my MRI report. I have an appointment with my Dr. late Monday afternoon but in the mean time would like to be able to understand this report. I am going to be referred to an orthopedic surgeon or a Neuro Surgeon and I have been asked which I prefer and I honestly don't know, because I don't understand my MRI report.

    MRI of Cervical Spine:

    Procedure: Sagital T2, sagital T1, sagital STIR, axial fast spine-echo T2, axial gradient-echo T2 images were performed.

    Findings: Cervical alignment is normal. Cerebellar tonsils are normal in position. The cord is intrinsically normal in signal and caliber.

    C2-3: There is a small central disk protrusion, which is contained by the posterior longitudinal ligament. This indents the ventral sac, but does not approach the cord. The foramina are patent.

    C3-4" Normal.

    C4-5: Mild disk space narrowing, mild dorsal spondylosis in association with annular disk bulging, in association with a shallow central disk protrusion are present and slightly narrow the dural sac. There is mild left foraminal narrowing due to uncovertebral spurring.

    At C5-6 there is a central to right-sided disk protrusion, which abuts the cord and causes slight indention of the cord. Minimal left foraminal narrowing due to uncovertebral spurring is present.

    At C7-T1, no abnormality is seen. The T1-2 level is normal. At T2-3, there is a small central protrusion. Axial images were not obtained through this level.


    1. Central to right-sided disk protrusion at C5-6 with mild canal narrowing and indention of the cord.

    2. Small central disk protrusion at C4-5, which in association with dorsal spondylosis causes mild canal narrrowing.

    3. Central disk protrusion at C2-3, which does not approach the cord.

    MRI of the Lumbar Spine without contrast:

    Procedure: Sagital T1, T2 and STIR images were obtained. Axial T2 and Axial T1 images were performed.

    Findings: Alignment of the lumbar spine is normal. Conus ends at L2 and is normal in signal intensity and caliber. Marrow signal is normal. The imaged lower Thoracic disks are normal. The L1-2 and L2-3 disks are normal.

    There is signal loss of the disks from L3-4 through L5-S1, consistent with desiccation.

    At L3-4 there is a mild annular bulge of the disk. There is no spinal stenosis or evidence of neural impingement.

    At L4-5 a mild annular bulge of the disk is seen. There is a focal area of high signal intensity in the posterior annulus, consistent with an annular tear. There is no spinal stenosis or evidence of neural impingement.

    At L5-S1 there is a shallow central disk protrusion, which indents the ventral sac. The disk protrusion measures 11 mm transverse x 3mm AP. There is moderate to marked narrowing of the right neural foramen due to disk material extending into the foramen and a facet spur, which impinges on the nerve root. This may be irritating the L5 nerve root Left foramen is patent.


    1. Mild annular disk bulge at L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1.

    2. Annular tear at L4-5

    3. Moderate right foraminal narrowing at L5-S1 with possible impingement of the nerve root. Small central disk protrusion at L5-S1 with mild indention of the dural sac.

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    Old 01-20-2007, 06:25 AM   #2
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    Re: Help Understanding My MRI Report


    I am not a doctor nor anyone in the medical field, but from my own issues and research: To me, it seems like you have some bulging/herniated discs in your cervical spine (upper) and lower spine (lumbar) and disc space narrowing (which is many times times due to degenerative disc disease). They also found the disc between vertebrae 4 & 5 to have a tear. All of this can cause various nerve pains and sciatica. A tear can be especially painful because the center or insides of the discs can actually come out of the disc and press into nerves, plus I read that just the chemicals inside the disc can be very irritating on surrounding tissues.

    I had similar things in my lumbar spine and was diagnosed with 2 herniated discs (one torn), degenerative disc disease, sponylitis (spinal osteoarthritis) and severe stenosis. I does not look like your report shows any stenosis, but it does show nerve impingement (discs are pressing on some of your nerves). It also looks to me like you have some bones spurs in your cervical spine, which can also press on nerves.

    Did you get checked out due to upper and/or lower back pains...or pains shooting down your legs? Does your spine get stiff & painful or do you have tender spots along your spine?

    Old 01-20-2007, 07:01 AM   #3
    wldflowersdrm's Avatar
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    Re: Help Understanding My MRI Report

    I have had pain and numbness in my arms, fingers, hands, legs, feet, back and neck. This has been an on going problem since 1998. It worsens with each year =0(

    Last edited by wldflowersdrm; 01-20-2007 at 07:03 AM. Reason: Misspelled word and forgot something

    Old 01-20-2007, 08:05 AM   #4
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    Re: Help Understanding My MRI Report

    Wildflower. Baybreeze is spot on. Your back is cateorgized, if you will, into three segments, the cervical (neck to shoulder), thorasic (mid back), lumbar (lower spine).

    All of these are different animals entirely and often treated separately. What I mean is that your cervical area may be of more concern for treatment than your lumbar issues, at the moment, and thus they will more than likely tell you, let's deal with this area first, then we will work on that. I hope that makes sense to you. So don't be surprised if that happens. It doesnt mean they will ignore anything, just agressive treatments may be segmented.

    As to which type of doctor you see, that's a toss, depending on your insurance plan, and the doctors in your area, etc. Either is good, but IF you see an orhtopaedic surgeon, you should try and find one that specializes in only spines, which also means they should have a specialized training and have a spine fellowship. These are best to dealing with spines. Neuros same thing.

    I chose an ortho over a neurosurgeon, as at the time.. I did not have nerve issues, only blown disc with severe sciatica.

    Glad you got the MRI, which is an important first step to getting you proper treatment and hopefully long lasting relief from your pain.

    Take care. Tammy
    "believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt

    L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
    Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
    Solidly Fused Nov-2006
    A Success, but still improving!

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