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Need clarification of MRI scan of Lumbar Spine
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Need clarification of MRI scan of Lumbar Spine

I suffer with rheumatoid arthritis and back pain and recentally had an MRI scan of the lumbar and had a question about the findings of L4-5:

"There is disc sesiccation.  There is broad-based annular bulge.  There is mild anterolisthesis likely degenerative in character.  There is moderate facet osteoarthritis.  There is central spinal stenosis of moderate to severe degree related to these multifactorial causes as well as lingamentum flavum hypertrophy.  There is mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing.  There may be a slightly more focal component of the disc centrally which may represent a superimposed small protrusion."

I need help in understanding two phrases: "lingamentum flavum hypertrophy" and "bilateral neural foraminal narrowing".  Thanks.  Lady Judy
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The ligamentum flavum is a posterior spinal ligament that is attached to the articular capsule of the apophyseal joints and laminae (parts of the vertebrae). They are present bilaterally.  Hypertrophy of these ligaments simply means enlargement of these ligaments - this can be caused by inflammation or scarring.

The neural foramina are the spaces through which nerve roots exit the spinal canal.  The MRI suggests narrowing of these spaces.

Your neurologist or neurosurgeon can further discuss these results.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
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