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    Old 06-19-2009, 08:51 PM   #1
    trychocolate
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    MRI pictures/finding comments

    Can't help but wonder what some of the MRI pictures must look like of the posters here. Do yours show severe indentations into the spinal cord before you get your surgery? I am seeing only mild indentation with both discs and osteophytes, front and back in a few places. Some of the vertebrae look so shrunken to me in some cases, and slightly displaced in cervcial and lumbar. But maybe this is fairly normal.

    Because previous MRI's are on file, the radiologist never quotes the same thing twice at any point in time. Only new findings. So report was pretty short with only a few differences with regard to bulging and further dessication; in some areas, I see only a bit of disc in the middle, none extending out to sides of vertabra for any kind of cushioning. No cord compression, just effacement so am wondering what cord compression looks like on pictures. Maybe I am having problems because of the natural stenosis and the added effacements?

    I felt like titling this thread "no problems here." I must have some weird neuropathy, loss of feeling, and all the other problems of unknown causes or something. I am not understanding why I have symptoms in common with people on this board with these findings. I am stumped for tonight. Dr. said once that it is subject to interpretation. That's all I know.

    C4-5: disc is a little narrowed with mild annular bulging.

    C5-6: also narrowed, degenerative with broad-based bulging. Mild stenosis.

    C6-7: minor bulging.

    Impression: degenerative bulging disc C5-6 with mild central canal stenosis, bilateral foraminal stenosis. Bulging at C4-5 and C6-7. No sign of nerve root impingement or spinal stenosis.

    Lumbar:

    slight anterolisthesis of L4. Spinal cord terminates at T12-L1.

    L4-5: disc is desiccated. Left posterolateral protrusion of the disc with narrowing of the right lateral recess which may impinge on L5 root in the lateral recess. Mild narrowing of the foramen. Mild central canal stenosis.

    L5-S1: bulging disc. Spondylolysis of L5. Mild narrowing the foramina, no direct nerve root impingement.

    Impression: left posterolateral protrusion at L4-5 likely inpinging on the L5 root in the lateral recess. No other signs of nerve root impingement.
    Spondylolysis with resultant anterolisthesis of L5 with a mildly bulging disc with no nerve root impingement at this level.

    choc

    Last edited by trychocolate; 06-20-2009 at 07:49 AM. Reason: added report today

     
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    Old 06-20-2009, 07:54 AM   #2
    trychocolate
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    oh, I forgot to say that, even though I will be looking some of this up, plus some is very old (spondylolisthesis), I would appreciate your input about the report.

    Thanks,
    choc

     
    Old 06-20-2009, 08:57 AM   #3
    jennybyc
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Choc, I can tell you that in my MRI's of my neck, at the C6 level my spinal cord looked like a pancake, being pressed on from both sides by the hernaited disks,

    Your spinal cord in the neck should be oval shaped and goes to round in the thoracic. So my worst area was being pressed in from the "long" sides of the oval. If the pressure is on the "short" sides of the oval, it may not look impressive but doing a lot more damage. I had that above the C6 level.

    You said the new MRI was on disk....were you able to access the pictures?

    I can also tell you that my neurosurgeon made me bring my films/CD's with me to his office as he said radiologists were notorious for missing possible major problems with MRI's.

    Are the reports you posted the old reports or the new one?

    We'll help you figure this out sooner or later(and did you notice there is an Addison's board here..you might want to ask there about what the symptoms are).

    Let me know.............Jenny

     
    Old 06-20-2009, 11:43 AM   #4
    trychocolate
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    This is new report, new CD. The last report somewhat different with more details stating mild cord compression and other details, so I just don't get it. Dr had said in the past that MRI's are subject to interpretation. I don't get to see any larger pictures, family dr won't be getting them either, I don't think. I guess pictures would be much clearer than CD? I thought CD was pretty good although small. Unfortunatly, I signed a statement that I would deliver them to my GP and that they are his property.

    I have checked other boards and a little research tells me Addisons has similar symptoms, like alot of other things. It all points to spinal to me so maybe there is something they are not seeing, or my situation is complicated by another condition of some kind. But what stays 24/7 is the electrical tingling in legs and feet and muscle weakness/numbness/loss of feeling, everywhere, spatial. Neck pain does change and move all over the neck depending on what I do and weather, with stiffness changes but throat and swallowing difficulties a constant.

    On the pictures, what is the small, narrow white cord just in front of the wide spinal cord running alongside it?

    Thank you for your help here, Jenny, I hope you had a nice visit.
    choc

    Last edited by trychocolate; 06-20-2009 at 11:46 AM.

     
    Old 06-20-2009, 02:21 PM   #5
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Well Choc, if the report you just posted was the new one, it doesn't show much. But here's what to look for when looking at the MRI itself.

    Your spinal cord is like your brain. It's made up of gray matter inside and white matter surrounding it...that's what you see in the cross cuts that looks like an oval of gray with a white circle around it. You will also see the white go out to the sides and that's the nerves exiting your cord and going out to the arms. Any black you see outside of the white is spinal fluid.

    When looking at the sideways view, they start outside so you see the bones, then as they go further in, you'll see the black first...the fluid, then further in the white matter, next is the the gray matter with the white streaks on the side(they've taken a "cut" right down through the middle of the cord so you see the gray and white and inside the cord) then it reverses the whole thing as it "backs" out of the spine. So the white is literally the white matter surrounding the gray matter of the central cord.

    I just looked at my original MRI prior to the first surgery and at several levels you can see the cord is out of shape. That gray blob with the white wrapped around it should be the same from pic to pic only changing to round as it goes down. I've got areas pushed in on so many different levels and then at C6, it looks like a pancake as viewed from the side. My report was 2 pages long.

    So I'd be prepared to have your doc start looking elsewhere(God I hate to say that to you). I've just been through this so I know what a big deal this is but in the long run, may turn out to be very good. You might have something curable! I know one doc mentioned Addisons but I'd also look at Vit. B12 deficiency. Search the symptoms. It was recently on an episode of Mystery Diagnosis and it reminded me of you during the show(I like that show...my doc was on it). And of course, you know they'll want to MRI your brain.

    I hate this for you. I just went through it but I'm used to being misdiagnosed. It comes with the psych history. Started with a misdiagnosed case of appendicitis and has stayed with me even since. No one thinks psych patients get sick! The reality is that when you have an emotional illness as well, your immune system is even more compromised so you actually are at a higher risk of illness. It's just the docs don't care as much as if we are not valuable people. Attempted suicide once and the doc in the ICU came in and told me to stop wasting their resources and just die already. They do have attitudes!

    So take another look at that MRI and see if you see the cord and any place where it is misshapen. It's easiest to see in the cross cuts(horizontal cuts through the vertebrae and cord). If it's not a nice oval, it's not the right shape.

    gentle hugs...............Jenny

     
    Old 06-20-2009, 03:47 PM   #6
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Hey Choc....you got me curious about something. I had a CT scan done a few days before my second spine surgery and I'd never looked at it. CT's show the bone better than an MRI and my doc asked me to get it done and bring it to surgery with me. Didn't say why but he looked at it before surgery and that's when he told me I might be permanently paralyzed.

    So after pulling out all my old MRI's(the CT was in with them)I decided to look at them.....carefully. In the original surgery my doc had opened 4 vertebrae and shaved down the bone over the back of the cord and then split it in half and propped it open with a bone graft to make even more room for my cord. Well, 3 of the 4 grafts were broken on the CT. No wonder I was such a mess! I had 3 broken vertebrae! On top of it, C3 and 4 had slip backwards, C5 had slipped forward, C6 had slipped backwards and C7 had slipped forwards. And yet no one believed me when I went to 2 ER's. Didn't even bother to take an x-ray.

    Next time someone tries to tell me I'm just way to sensitive to pain I think I'll carry a copy of the CT with me and show it to them and say......well, this didn't hurt too much so you tell me if I'm too sensitive to pain!

    Sorry....... I just needed to vent after seeing the CT. Blew me away!

    Hugs my dear friend and prayers for a diagnosis sooner rather than later...................Jenny

     
    Old 06-20-2009, 05:07 PM   #7
    trychocolate
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    So please excuse me for being only to take one point at a time.

    I have compared my MRI to some on internet. So what does it mean when there is hardly any white (which I thought was spinal fluid because it surrounds that small and thin, darker strip that looks like the cord (could see where it ends in L and S area). Healthy pictures on net show good surrounding of white. Mine is barely visible and looks totally blocked to spinal cord in a couple of spots and on rear of spine.

    I know my stuff pales in comparison to what you have seen and been through. Your pictures must look like a car accident! (sorry, but pancakes are for breakfast!)

    Cord is oval but never a circle but that is probably fine.

    Thank you so much for coming through with all that information. I am wondering if shading is different on CD and white, grey etc. are the same as in actual pictures or what, but am learning much from your posts.

    Got a disc burned so at least I get to keep results.

    ever so thankful,
    choc

     
    Old 06-20-2009, 08:42 PM   #8
    trychocolate
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    I can't believe how all that could be missed on your CT. I have to wonder if they just wait things out intentionally, for one reason or another, leaving you with so many problems and mental anguish. Having a clear picture of the problem and a patient still has to figure it out on their own?

    I remember my dr saying a few years ago that the natural (birth) narrowing of the spinal canal combined with other problems intensifies symptoms of the bulging discs and osteo. So if you would have had that plus your created stenosis, maybe you would have been permanently paralyzed; everything would have moved along quicker, I would think, and be trickier to fix, from what I hear. So getting down to a 6mm must have created an intense amount of pressure in your system, in addition to the critical state of your spine. What agony.

    So I may be experiencing symptoms quicker than I normally would if the canal were a decent 11 mm to begin with and a decent cranial fluid flow. As it is, with the sometimes extreme and other intermittent symptoms I get, I have to wonder if that necessary flow is getting blocked and pressure builds, and then somehow works itself through again. How far-fetched is that? I guess when I look at the picture, I don't understand how the fluid is getting around there. I am going to be more vigilant with the Cranial Sacral Deep Tissue therapy for sure to see if that helps the overall circulation there. I now understand how sometimes people with spine issues get told they have a severe form of fibromialgia. Everything just feels blocked some days.

    I am going to see about getting cortisol checked (I can just see the look on his face), although I don't have the dark pigmentation that seems to be obvious with it. I did lose weight equally all over my body (even hands, head and my glasses are too big now); usually when we women lose weight, it will be in certain areas and not in others. I just thought it was aging issues as you see this on older women sometimes. But in the back of my mind, with the stomach/urinary problems and numbness going on down there, I didn't know what to think. You can see why I don't want to give this up easily.

    Maybe I need to rethink my focus.

    choc

     
    Old 06-21-2009, 08:17 AM   #9
    jennybyc
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Good morning Choc and everyone out there.

    I should start by saying I knew nothing about what a mess my neck was as I was being wheeled into surgery when the doc read the films. All I knew was possible permanent paralysis. He had no time to explain every injury and afterwards, I developed morphine psychosis which renders you unable to remember anything. You get short term memory loss so if he told me, I have no idea. They didn't know I had that until I began coming out of it and told them I thought it was Saturday morning when in fact it was Tuesday night. And all the new patient privacy laws prevent the doc from telling the family without permission. I did sign for him to tell my hubby and son but DIL was always around or on the phone when hubby called(listening in) and they couldn't tell him. He wanted her to explain medical terms but I never put her name down so they couldn't tell him much.

    When I had my staples out I only saw his PA as he was back in surgery. I saw him at 5 weeks post-op only because my legs were so numb and I needed answers. He told me to wait and I was so #@$$%& off, I hardly talked to him.

    I was incredibly angry at him and every doc that had dismissed me as a complainer when my neck was breaking up. I saw a malpractice attorney and got my entire file from the hospital. I never went back for my 3 month or 6 month check-ups or even my 1 year. I didn't go back to him until 14 months post-op and that was after writing a long letter to him to voice my anger at how everyone was treating me. Since then, we have talked several times and he now understands what went wrong and why I was so angry.

    My own family had treated me worse than the docs who missed everything. I came home from the hospital on a Thursday evening and hubby went off to work on Friday as usual. The following Monday, he left for a week long trip and left me, in the middle of January, alone at home(with 6 cats) with only my son and daughter-in-law to call if I needed help and they basically didn't respond. Here I was 10 days post-op and on my own. Recovery was hell. Perhaps if everyone had known what was on that CT they would have been more attentive but somehow I doubt it. I've always been the strong one in the family who looked after everyone else. They just didn't know how to care for me but still doesn't excuse their behavior.

    Now you know why I've been in therapy and why couples therapy is coming. The way he treated me was abusive in my view. Same for son and DIL. She especially since she's has a MA in nursing. I fell one night and thank goodness husband was home because if I had fallen any other time, I would have been on the floor for a long time. I couldn't get up and even with his help, it took about 30 minutes to get up. They just didn't understand how bad this was.

    Now for you and the MRI. That narrow strip of white may be a sign of stenosis but may also be from the angle the picture was taken. They take slices by millimeters and depending on how many mms. they go at a time, that's where the amount of white matter there is. Most of mine show a very tiny amount of black(fluid) and in many places none. It's more prominent in the lumbar area. But that may show some steady stenosis developing. When I looked back at my old MRI from pre-surgery, it was very obvious that there was a BIG problem, even to me(the then untrained eye).

    But hey....I learned a lot about spines and even I thought my current problems were from my neck and I was WRONG! I never even thought it was my brain. I assumed the 4 dos who saw me since Jan. were at least in the right ballpark. Turned out they weren't even near the ballpark nor even in the right country! Well, maybe the right state.....brain is part of the cord after all. But it was a totally different problem and maybe that's what your doc is thinking too. It looks like the neck, you have a history of spine problems so everyone assumes spine but maybe not. Other things can cause similar symptoms(so I've found out).

    So keep an open mind, Choc. I'm glad I don't have to go through another spine surgery but blown away at the futility that has been expressed over these kinds of strokes. It's like....what can you do???? Not much...the damage has been done. I feel like I'm being told to get my affairs in order. That's why I'm searching for some hope whether it be from a talk show host or the new therapist I see tomorrow.

    You may turn out to have something that's curable, or at least treatable without surgery. It could still be your spine but you don't know right now. I know the frustration of not knowing what is wrong and I'll be here with everyone else to stand with you while you walk this journey. You guys all stood with me and I'm here for the long haul too.

    Happy Father's Day to all dads out there.

    gentle hugs..........Jenny

     
    Old 06-21-2009, 05:22 PM   #10
    trychocolate
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Thanks Jenny. I did some checking, and shadings on CD can vary. Dark or white can be showing spinal fluid, depending on the picture. So in comparing to some on the net, my canal is very narrow and that is a minus here. The side towards the discs looks like more room, but other side (outside?) of spinal cord looks smack up along the foraminal vertabrae with deeper indentations into the canal and cord, if I've worded that right. Have to take all results to dr tommorrow night, so felt a need to 'cram' to have something prepared to say.

    Had some friends drop in awhile ago and left me with a new, natural cure for this. Lots of pills and don't be surprised if it works...

    Jenny, I hope you can get some things resolved at that new therapist tommorrow. I think it's just getting to be so much for you to cope with and with that stroke bringing out all the additional stuff from the past, well, most people would need some qualified support. I am glad that you are so open minded about seeing the need for it and especially from someone who can listen and help with an educated approach, who can get right to the 'heart' of things. Our coping skills need to be regenerated on a regular basis, and how refreshing that will be for you.

    Well, I am hoping my brain will have things sorted out for tommorrow. You know the expression 'sleep on it.'

    have a restful Sunday night,
    choc

     
    Old 06-22-2009, 05:28 PM   #11
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Choc....your doc appointment is tonight...I'm waiting for the results.....impatiently!

    Had a great first meeting with my new therapist and I hope your appointment goes as well.

    gentle big Albertan hugs...............Jenny

     
    Old 06-22-2009, 06:58 PM   #12
    trychocolate
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Dr. is going to look at CD after hours for the concerns I have. He pointed out a discrepancy on one of the findings and needs to phone for clarification. Also, commented about no comparisons noted with last report; the way it's usually done. Almost documented as though a first MRI.

    But so far, as it stands, the findings have not changed, except in the lumbar area. I am somewhat shocked. I am on a waiting list for a more multi-specialist approach. He mentioned a stand up MRI would certainly be more desired in this case, as laying down seems to relieve symptoms/pressure and this could ultimately affect MRI results. There isn't much I can say, other than I wish I knew what is causing all these symptoms so I could deal with it and move on. But then, I keep saying that the nerve issues are probably permanent now anyway.

    Oddly enough, some friends dropped by yesterday and insisted I try a new natural product for arthritic problems. I am pretty impressed with the ingredients and web site, so not being desparate or anything, am going to try this product. If somebody really avoided hip surgery on this stuff...

    Sorry for not getting back here right away, I don't think I quite knew what to say.

    I'm glad to hear you had a good appointment, Jenny.

    Thanks all,
    choc

     
    Old 06-23-2009, 10:25 AM   #13
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Hey Choc....that sounds promising. A stand-up MRI is something I haven't even had done. And on the list for a multi-specialist approach should bring some results. Sounds like your doc is finally listening. Glad he picked up on the lack of comparison to past MRI. That's important.

    Your nerve damage may not be permanent. Look at me. I had no use of my left arm after the second surgery but I was carrying my 25 pound granddaughter on Wednesday...in my left arm! So much for permanent. You won't know until you know what's wrong and it's treated. My role model is my best friend with MS. She has ended up in the hospital over and over again with 3 paralyzed limbs and difficulty breathing yet each time she bounces back and is up walking in a couple of weeks. Just needs some extra IV meds. And she's done this for over 30 years! You never know what is permanent until it is. Even stroke survivors can improve for years.

    This past Christmas a friend's husband had a major stroke. He had so much bleeding in his brain they had to remove the whole side of his skull. He was in a deep coma for almost 6 weeks although at 3 weeks a tape of his dog barking seemed to bring a response and that made everyone hopeful. He's now home, speaking, holding his new granddaughter that was born a week after the stroke and learning to walk again. The doc's said he never should have lived.

    So no one knows what is going to happen when it comes to brains and spinal cords(it is part of the brain, ya know!). We just don't know enough about how the brain/cord heals. So think positive, Choc. And I'll throw in a few prayers for extra measure! You will get answers.

    gentle hugs.............Jenny

     
    Old 06-24-2009, 08:29 AM   #14
    trychocolate
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Have been checking out all kinds of feedback, not from dr's of course. Thanks for your support Jenny. We hear about these kinds of things (MRI stuff) and maybe get thrown for a loop when it happens to us.

    Is it true that a regular spinal MRI is different from something called a spinal bone MRI? I can't find anything on the net about this and am hesitant to move forward on a current suggestion I am getting regarding this. Sounds weird to me.

    Thanks,
    choc

    Last edited by trychocolate; 06-24-2009 at 08:31 AM.

     
    Old 06-24-2009, 09:13 PM   #15
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    Re: MRI pictures/finding comments

    Hi Choc!!! I'm glad to hear that you are not giving up and still actively seeking an answer. There's some fight left in those bones yet. Wasn't Jenny's story a great motivator! I'm sorry that I haven't been around the last few days. My students graduated Friday and I took a very short vacation. My new students arrive on July 6th. It's just a busy time, but not too busy to keep in touch with you all. I'll do some asking about a spinal bone MRI and get back with you.

    Comedy to come soon!
    Take care,
    SP

     
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