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What is a Degenerative Cyst?

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Old 12-02-2008, 02:30 PM   #1
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megss HB User
What is a Degenerative Cyst?

I finally got a copy of my MRI repots today when I went into have my discogram done, and I have a question.
For Findings, it says:

T11-12 through L3-4 disc spaces are normal
At L4-5, there is disc desiccation and mild posterior disc bulge without nerve root impingement.
At L5-S1 there are bilateral L5 pars defect with minor anterolisthesis of L5 on S1. There is mild posterior anular bulge. A degenerative cyst is noted at the dorsal aspect of the left pars defect. A small effusion is present in the right facet joint. Central canal and foramina are adequately patent.

This is what the report says for the conclusion:

1) Grade 1 L5-S1 spondylolisthesis with a degenerative cyst at the dorsal aspect of the L5 left pars.
2) Minor posterior annular bulge at L5-S1 without evidence of nerve root impingement.
3) Diminished disc height, desiccation and posterior disc bulge without nerve root impingement at L4-L5.

What is a degenerative cyst from #1? What is anterolisthesis? What does it mean when it says "A small effusion is present in the right facet joint."? Is #2 a big deal? No one has ever mentioned that to me. It keeps saying "without nerve root impingement", so wouldn't that mean it is not pressing on a nerve? If that is the case, would it not cause pain?
My discogram today was incredibly painful, and I still am in lots of pain (more than normal) which leads me to believe that my discs are causing some of the pain.
I just would like some help interpreting these results.

Last edited by megss; 12-02-2008 at 02:40 PM. Reason: Adding something

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Old 12-03-2008, 08:39 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 21
mamabug HB User
Re: What is a Degenerative Cyst?

Hi Meggs,

Retrolisthesis is the slippage of an upper vertebrae over the one below it. This can result in instability depending on the severity. Anterolisthesis is the opposite, I think. I mean the slippage is the other way.

Disc bulges can be painful even if there is no evidence of spinal cord impingement. They can touch the cord and cause irritations and can also cause the body to release chemicals that cause irritation and pain. Even "mild" bulges (I wish these doctors could live with a "mild" bulge for a day). Additionally, the imaging studies don't always reveal the full extent of the damage being done.

Desiccation, or loss of disc fluid, can also be the source of much pain. You are losing the padding between the vertebrae that were put there for your comfort. Chemicals released can also irritate your spinal cord.

I don't know what a facet effusion is but any time the facet joints are involved, that should be investigated. I don't know what a degenerative cyst is, either but I have a hemangioma on my thoracic spine that is quite painful.

So, yes there are some problems that would account for your pain. Let us know what your doc says and your course of action.

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