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Disc fragment & Macrophage Resorption of fragment material versus s...
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Disc fragment & Macrophage Resorption of fragment material versus surgery

I injured my lower back on 7-Apr-2010.  I had one epidural injection then an MRI on 14-Apr-2010.  The MRI showed normal L-1, L-2, & L-3 for my age without stenosis.  At L-5: This flattens the ventral thecal sac without significant central spine stenosis or lateral recess stenosis.  There is facet hypertrophy & likely a minimal annular tear.  At S-1: There is mild dessication (desiccation) and disc space narrowing.  There is disc extrusion with inferior migration of a sequestered fragment that measures 7 mm.  The fragment is slightly to the left of midline & contacts the thecal sac and exiting S-1 nerve root.  There is mild edema & enlargement of the left S-1 nerve root.  No significant nerve root compression or thecal sac compression.

Current (Apr-2010) MRI Radiology & Surgical Review of MRI / Impression: Min facet hypertrophy at L-3-L-4; Mild degenerative disc & facet disease L-4-L-5 without stenosis. L-5-S-1 disc extrusion with a sequestered disc fragment.  The disc material that migrates inferior from the disc & contacts the ventral thecal sac and left S-1 nerve.
Progress:  Since The 7-Apr-2010 injury to L-5-S-1 with disc fragment as above I have had 2 transforaminal epidural injections to L-5-S-1 area.  I have had some improvement in symptoms to my left lower back, leg, & foot.  Initially I had severe LBP and pain to my calf with numbness to entire left foot.  Now I have some numbness to left foot (2nd, 3rd, & 4th toes and sole of foot extending towards heal from the toes as listed) and some aching to left calf and lower back.  I was initially unable to walk on the front part of my left foot – but now I am able to do this.  I have intermittent tenant pain and consistent tingling of left foot.

I want to know if the fragment will resorb or be absorbed by my body over time.
I would like to know if surgery is required to avoid nerve damage from the fragment.
I would like reference resources that have tracked disc fragments over time.
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2 Comments Post a Comment
Avatar m tn
I saw this the last time you posted it. I’m not sure if I’ll be any help. You do know this a Patient helping Patient type forum, right?

The contact of the fragment to your S1 nerve pretty well correlates to the S1 radiculopathy you’re having although, it could also be from Chemical Radiculitis. I don’t think anyone can state absolutely that your fragment will or will not be absorbed over time, fortunately for you, it’s not in the spinal canal. There have been case studies that have looked at this, particularly involving people that have absolutely refused to have surgery. And there have been very encouraging results, in one case I read that the fragment was absorbed in only 3 months which is unheard off.

As to whether or not the fragment can cause nerve damage, your surgeon would be the one to ask about this because they can migrate, which can have positive or negative results.

References, you’re not going to find the type of data you’re looking for on any patient oriented websites, there have been a lot of case studies on exactly what you’re looking for, but you have to go to sources that are geared more towards medical professionals. You can get the abstracts of some of these studies and I’ll give you a list, but most of these sites require registration and some even charge for full text.

The Spine Journal Online
Medlink Neurology
Medline (on,
Google Scholar: I don’t know if your familiar with Google scholar, if not, just do a search on it and when you get to it, do a search on Disc fragment Resorption in the lumbar Spine or something of that nature, it’s a great search engine for the kind of  thing your looking for.

One last thing, post your questions on the Neurosurgery Expert Forum; I’ll give you the link. Questions are answered by a Neurosurgeon and he is very helpful, it generally takes him a couple days to respond to new questions, but he will respond. I doubt if he has time to give you any reference sources, but I’m sure he’ll answer your other 2 questions.

Here’s the link:

Take Care
Avatar m tn
I originally had a lamenectomy at the age of I'm 40yrs old... I started getting major spinal inflammation at the age of 33 and basically would be on bed rest for a month or so and then would be fine. The pain would generally be on my left side, never had numbness, some tingling and pins and needless that's about it. As of mid January! Not sure what happened, but not I have major pain on my right side, I can't lay flat on my back, was sleeping on a recliner. I have pan shooting down my right leg to my calf and some tingling down to,my foot, if I sit for,too,long and then get up. I am on steroids and my recent MRI indicates I have a fragment and not sure where that came from. I was referred to a neurosurgeon for advice, he recommends epidural and if that doesn't work, then came and see him. He sounds like an intelligent and MD and not too eager to cut me up. I do respect that in him. I am just asking if anyone else has had similar scenarios or anything remotely  close amen. What steps have they taken. Also the main question would be how in the God's name is the epidural going to help the fragment...logically this doesn't sit with me. Any words of wisdom would be helpful.
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