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Help understanding my MRI

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Old 01-09-2018, 11:48 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Delaware
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MarieC47 HB User
Help understanding my MRI

Could anyone help me understand what this all means? I'd greatly appreciate it.

Here's what the report reads:

Indication: M54.2 Chronic neck pain, bilateral upper extremity radiculopathy

Findings: Sagittal T1, STIR, and T2-weighted sequences were obtained in addition to axial T1 and T2-weighted sequences.

There is diffuse degenerative disc disease. The bone marrow demonstrates normal signal characteristics. The cervical cord is normal in size and signal. There are no epidural fluid collections. The visualized intracranial structures are in tact.

At C3-4, there is a focal central disc protrusion which attenuates the ventral CSF space and causes mass effect on the tecal sac and cervical cord. There is no abnormal cord signal.

At C4-5, There is dorsal osteophyte formation which attenuates the ventral CSF. There is no spinal stenosis or foraminal stenosis.

At C5-6, there is a dorsal osteophyte formation which is eccentric to the right. There are bilateral uncovertebral osteophytes and bilateral foraminal stenosis. There is attenuation of the ventral CSF space.

At C6-7, there is a broad-based central to right paracentral disc protusion which causes mild attenuation of the ventral CSF space.

1. Central disc protusion at C3-4 with mass effect on the thecal sace and cervical cord
2.Broad dorsal osteophyte at C5-6 with bilateral unconvertebral osteophytes and bilateral foraminal stenosis. There is attenuation of the ventral CSF space
3. Mild broad right paracentral disc protrusion at C6-7 with minimal mass effect of the thecal sac.

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Old 01-11-2018, 06:50 AM   #2
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Re: Help understanding my MRI

Welcome to the board. I usually post on the "Back Problems" section of Healthboards. There is also a section called "Spinal Cord Disorders" that is populated with people who have cervical spine and neck issues. You might want to check it out!

The term for you to become acquainted with is "degenerative disc disease." It is a common cause of neck pain and radiating arm pain. You might want to read about it online to get a better understanding of what the degenerative process entails.

Briefly, it is not really a disease but a series of degenerative changes that occur in the structure of the spinal column. It is caused by wear and tear of daily living and is a normal progression of aging which, in the human spine, begins in our twenties.

Usually going hand in hand with DDD are conditions like arthritis and spinal stenosis.

The danger in the cervical spine is that there is a possibility that the spinal cord itself can become damaged. This can happen when a disc bulges to the extent that it pushes into the sac that contains the spinal cord. If it pushes into the cord to a severe extent, it can compress the nerve bundle that makes up the spinal cord.

Sometimes as part of the degenerative process, an osteophyte (bone spur) will form on the facet joint or the disc itself. This can contribute to pressure on the spinal nerve/nerves and can cause stenosis.

Stenosis means narrowing. It occurs in two places in the the central canal where it can impact the spinal cord and in the foramina, which are openings at each vertebral level that allow a spinal nerve to exit the spine and go out to the area of the body it innervates. If something like a disc bulge or herniation or an osteophyte gets in the way of the opening, it interferes with the healthy functioning of the spinal nerve at that location...and the result is the pain, tingling or numbness that is felt either at that location in neck or back or it can radiate down the path the nerve takes.

You will note that at C3-4 the disc is herniated to the extent that it is pushing into the sac that contains the spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The report does not indicate the size of the herniation but it is impacting the cord signal (which is a good thing!).

At C4-5 there are bone spurs enlarging the disc, causing it to push into the Central canal but not causing narrowing (stenosis) in the foramina or central canal.

At C5-6 there is also osteophyte formation growing to the right side. This is causing some stenosis in both left and right side foramina and is pushing against the central canal.

At C6-7 there is a disc protrusion which is formed centrally and on the right side that is pushing into the central canal.

If you have not done so, you might consider making an appointment with a spine specialist. This could be a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Just be sure the doctor's practice is limited to problems and diseases of the back and neck.

Any time there are issues that impact the spinal cord, it is a good idea to see a spine specialist for an accurate diagnosis and plan of treatment. The MRI report does not indicate the extent to which the spinal canal or CSF is being I can't say if surgery might be suggested. I think not, but this may change in the future so it is a good idea to have a spine surgeon that can follow your case.

My guess is that your issues can be treated with conservative modalities...a course of physical therapy, medication to lessen pain and inflammation, perhaps a series of epidural steroid injections given for the same purpose, etc.

Good luck to you.

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Old 01-14-2018, 09:19 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Delaware
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MarieC47 HB User
Re: Help understanding my MRI

teteri66, I appreciate all your help and information. Thank you so very much!

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