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  • Cat Scan Results: HELP!!In laymen's terms...

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    Old 01-31-2012, 11:49 AM   #1
    Join Date: Jan 2012
    Location: Peachland, British Columbia, Canada
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    flyjofly HB User
    Question Cat Scan Results: HELP!!In laymen's terms...

    I have just had a lumbar spine cat scan and received a printout of the diagnosis...Can anyone tell me, in layman's terms, what this means????

    RESULTS: The L2-3 disc level showsa very minimal posterior disc bulge causing slight effacement of the thecal sac & very minor bilateral neural foraminal narrowing. Sililar change is noted @ L3-4.

    The L4-5 disc shows 7 mm of anerolisthesis of L4 on 5 with moderate circumferential disc bulge. Severe facet hypertrophy & sclerosis with gas phenomena is noted at this level resulting in severe spinal canal & bilateral neural foraminal narrowing.

    The L5-S1 disc level shows near complete sacralisation of the large left transverse process of L5 to the adjacent sacral ala. Gas phenomina is noted at the pseudoarthrosis. A rudimentary L5 S1 disc shows posterior osteophytes on the right side contributing to moderate to marked right-sided neural foraminal narrowing.

    INTERPRETATION: Severe degenerative changes of the lower lumbar spine accounting for the garde 1 spondylolisthesis of L4 on 5 with severe spinal canal & bilateral neural foraminal narrowing. No disc herniation is identified.

    Any help in deciphering this medical-speak would be greatly appreciated!

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    Old 01-31-2012, 12:43 PM   #2
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    Re: Cat Scan Results: HELP!!In laymen's terms...

    I'm not used to CT scans, but to the extent that the report is similar to an MRI, I will try to help.

    L2-3 and L3-4 are not perfect, but do not seem to be problematic

    Your L4 vertebra seems to be 7mm displaced forward over the L5. That's about 1/4", and seems like quite a bit.

    At L4-5 the disk is bulging somewhat, and the facet joints (on the sides) have grown over time. The combination is squeezing the spinal canal severely and also severely narrowing the foraminal openings through which pass the peripheral nerves down to your legs. Any use of the word "severe" by a radiologist should be taken with great and immediate concern.

    At L5-S1, part of the spine is fused to the level beneath it. Probably congenital. Google "sacralization". You also have some osteophytes (bone spurs) which are starting to intrude upon one foraminal opening.

    In summary, you have three nasty problems at L4-5 (canal and both foramina severely affected) and one growing problem at L5-S1.

    I am not familiar with surgical alternatives in the lower back (the Back Problems board would know better), although, for now, foraminotomies might be the way to go.

    Last edited by WebDozer; 01-31-2012 at 12:43 PM.

    Old 01-31-2012, 03:51 PM   #3
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    Re: Cat Scan Results: HELP!!In laymen's terms...

    I will add to what Web has said as I'm facing surgery for this exact area myself and have learned a few things. We are mostly necks here and necks are very different from lumbar spines.

    The Grade 1 anterolisthesis means that the upper vertebra is pushed forward by 1/4 of the bone width. A grade 2 would be 1/2 the width of the bone, a grade 3 is 3/4 of the width and grade 4 is the entire bone is pushed out over the vertebra below it. The vertebrae in the lumbar are huge as compared with the neck so that means it is pushed that 7mms and yet it is only 1/4 of the width of the bone below. In my family, we all have this same thing at that same level and I suspect we were born with it that way.

    But the big problem is the rest of the L4-5 problems...that "severe" spinal canal and foramina narrowing. This is significant. The spinal canal and foramina are twice the size of what it is in the neck and to block it up like that is hard and bad. It can result in you losing bowel and bladder control and if not relieved, that could become permanent. My neighbor has a permanent urinary catheter since he can't pee and wears a diaper as he has fecal incontinence from 2 botched back surgeries.

    Are you having any problems with not being able to hold your bowels or bladder or the other can't go? Are you having numbness in your legs at all?

    It's strange but your body is trying to fix it itself by fusing the lower vertebrae together itself but that won't stop the nerve damage that is taking place. You need a very good spine surgeon to fix it for you.

    I'd go talk to Tetonteri on the Back knowledgeable as anyone here(if not more so) and she can help you find a good surgeon and help you look at the options you have for surgery. I'll be going to talk to her myself after I get some answers from my spine surgeon next week...I value her advice that much.

    Good luck and I'll see you on the Back Problems board.


    Old 01-31-2012, 06:44 PM   #4
    Join Date: Nov 2011
    Location: toronto
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    justjay HB User
    Re: Cat Scan Results: HELP!!In laymen's terms...

    I do get tingling in my lips

    also legs feel spastic

    I have had other Tests Completed

    Abdominal ULTRASOUND/2011
    Abdominal X-RAY/2011
    Upper GI ENDOSCOPY/2011
    24 HOUR URINE/5-HIAA/2011
    STRESS TEST/2006
    C Spine MRI/2010
    CT HEAD/2010

    Blood Tests




    I also have decreased cognitive function
    severe pains in the center of my spine
    I have extreme restless feeling in my lower to mid back area when i sit down for a period of time.
    My body seems to have oversensitivity to light and sounds.
    Wake up with hands feeling shaky
    Tinnitus/ ringing in both ears
    Difficulty swallowing
    Pain in sternum/upper abdominal area

    I am wondering if the pain and symptoms might be from something else

    I had my tsh done for my thyroid and it was 0.4

    Does anyone else know what direction i should go in?

    I was thinking a thyroid scan and a antibody test to rule out an autoimmune issue as well as a sleep clinic but my doctor does not seem to take things seriously.

    Old 02-01-2012, 09:19 AM   #5
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    Re: Cat Scan Results: HELP!!In laymen's terms...

    flyjofly.. you have a bit more going on than myself but I had spondylolisthesis, grade 2. They fused my lower lumbar and the pain is gone.

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