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jaydavis 05-22-2008 05:28 PM

Question on MRI results and forminal narrowing
Various doctors have told me that my case is inoperable, however what I have read regarding pain from foraminal stenosis is exactly what I'm having.
Here is my MRI report.

Degenerative changes of the lumbar spine as oultined most prominent at L3/5 and L4/5
Mild central canal stenosis at L3/4 with moderate right and moderately severe left foraminal narrowing.
Moderately severe bilateral foraminal narrowing at L4/5
Small central protrusion L5/S1 without central or foraminal stenosis.

Also under findings...
Moderately severe left foraminal narrowing with disc bulge extending into the foramen.

Can anyone out there see any reason why a Foraminotomy wouldn't help.

Suffering for over 20 Years.


carol632 05-22-2008 06:20 PM

Re: Question on MRI results and forminal narrowing
Hi Jay. While I am not a doctor, I have been a victim of chronic pain for 27 years now and boy! Do I ever hear the frustration in your post.

Have you seen any doctors who specialize in the spine only? I find it hard to believe that there aren't any doctors who think you can be helped with surgery. You have enough stenosis that there shouldn't be much doubt that you need some kind of surgery to open up the areas where the nerve exit the spine. If you have been seeing either a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic Spine Specialist with a fellowship who limits his practice to the spine only, then I can only say I don't want to live where you live! It seems fairly obvious to me that you need to find someone else and you may have to travel out of your area to do so.

Do you have any health problems that proclude having surgery, such as a bad heart, severe diabetes, or any other dangerous conditions that would make surgery inadvisable? Otherwise, I can't understand why doctors have refused you.

Maybe a bit more information would be helpful....such as when you had your last MRI, the types of dr's you've been seeing, etc. Perhaps someone here might have some idea why your doctors aren't offering surgery.

Best of luck to you.


jaydavis 05-23-2008 01:54 PM

Re: Question on MRI results and forminal narrowing
It's been since the mid '80's for me. I have seen neurosurgeons (who have told me nothing to be done surgery wise),neurologists, therapists, acupunture,etc, but I have not seen a spine specialist. I've had all kinds of MRI's but no CT's. And no health problems at all except my back. I have been referred to a new neurosurgeon who's supposed to be very good. My main reason for seeing him is to ask why, when there is a procedure related to my symptoms and MRI report, is everyone saying no.

Baybreeze 05-23-2008 04:54 PM

Re: Question on MRI results and forminal narrowing
Hi, I am not sure why all those docs are telling you no either, especially when you have no other health problems. One of my guesses might be that those particular docs maybe dont' have much (or maybe no) experience with doing surgery for your condition. I had severe central canal stenosis, but once they opened me up for surgery, the report showed I also had some foraminal and lateral recess stenosis, which they cleaned out (cutting bone, disc, and ligament away). I was scared of surgery, but nothing else was helping me and all my docs were telling me my only chance of getting relief would be surgery (if I didn't want to live in that horrible pain anymore). My PT, rheumatologist, and spine specialist. I got a referral from my PT and ended up using an Orthopedic Spine Specialist (with a spine fellowship) and his spine specialities are in adults with scoliosis, degenerative disease, spinal injuries, and tumors. He's a doc at a well known group and that group also treats the state's NFL, NHL, and gymastics teams, plus he's with a teaching hospital.

So perhaps, you might want to check and see if you can find a neuro or ortho spine specialist at a local teaching hospital in your area....Teaching hospitals many times have the most up to date and newest techniques, etc. And from what you describe, I am also just so surprised you've so far been told no. However, if you've had that plus all that pain for over 20 years, you might even have some permanent nerve damage that surgery wouldnt help. But I don't know, I'm just guessing here. My opinion is to try see a specialist at a teaching hospital.

mznell 05-23-2008 10:18 PM

Re: Question on MRI results and forminal narrowing
I can give you two names of specialists in Tucson who you might want to consult with. Jeffrey M. Baron is at the Tuscon Orthopedic Institute. He is board certified, and fellowship trained in the spine, and specializes in "the aging spine and degenerative conditions associated with such disease."

If you prefer going to the U. of Arizona, check out Stephen E. Hanks in the dept. of orthopedic surgery. He too is fellowship trained in the spine and deals with adult spinal issues.

Not to diminish your pain, but nothing you wrote from your MRI sounds all that difficult to treat or that unusual. I can't imagine why a doc. would tell you that he cannot treat you. I agree with all the great advice given to you by Baybreeze.

Hope you can find a specialist soon that will be able to help you. I can't imagine living with back pain for more than 20 years!! :(

xx M:cool:M

jaydavis 05-29-2008 01:37 PM

Re: Question on MRI results and forminal narrowing
Thank you very much Marlos Mom, If this "brain surgeon" I'm going to see, gives me the answer I expect, then I will definately look up those two you recommended

paula456 05-30-2008 05:21 AM

Re: Question on MRI results and forminal narrowing
I'm new on this board but based upon the experience I've just had I'd recommend an orthopedic surgeon whose speciality is spinal reconstruction. I'm learning that neurosurgeons are not necessarily that comfortable with bone issues.

jaydavis 05-30-2008 10:45 AM

Re: Question on MRI results and forminal narrowing
That makes sense, since I've supposedly seen the top neurosurgeons (with one to go) here in Tucson, and they've both done nothing.

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