I received my MRI report but have no idea what it means. Can someone shed some light on it? Here is the report:
Study: Lumbar spine dated 3/30/2015.
T1, T2, STIR and proton density weighted images were obtained in
sagittal and axial planes. There are no prior studies for
Degenerative changes are seen with disc desiccation at L1-2 and
L5-S1 with mild loss of height. No evidence for spondylolisthesis
or spondylolyses. The vertebral bodies otherwise maintain normal
height, contour and alignment.
Minimal bulging of the disc is seen at the level of L1-2 without
The disc spaces at L2-3, L3-4 and L4-L5 are normal. There is mild
bilateral facet arthropathy at the level of L4-L5.
At the level of L5-S1 there is chronic central and slightly left
para midline broad-based herniation of the disc with minimal
impingement on the thecal sac. There is bilateral facet
arthropathy. Spinal canal is adequate. Moderate bilateral neural
foraminal stenosis is noted due to degenerative changes.
Conus is at the level of T12-L1. Visualized paraspinal soft
tissues are normal.
Incidental note is made of degenerative changes in the distal
thoracic spine with minimal left lateral bulging of the disc at
the level of T11-T12. There is no stenosis at this level.
Degenerative changes at L1-2 and L5-S1.
L5-S1 there is central and left paramidline broad-based
herniation with minimal impingement on the thecal sac. There is
moderate bilateral neural foraminal stenosis due to degenerative
MRI of the thoracic spine dated 3/30/2015.
T1, T2, STIR and gradient echo sequences were obtained in
sagittal and axial planes. There are no prior studies for
The vertebral bodies maintain normal height, contour and
alignment. No significant abnormal bone marrow changes are noted.
There is a well-defined hyperintense T1 and hyperintense T2
signal focus within T4 vertebral body likely consistent with a
hemangioma and of no clinical significance. Mild degenerative
changes are seen at multiple levels with disc desiccation.
At the level of T2-T3 there is small asymmetric left paramidline
bulging of the disc with minimal impingement on the ventral
contour of the spinal cord. There is no stenosis.
Minimal bulging of the disc is seen at T10-T11 without focal
herniation. There is no stenosis.
At the level of T11-T12 there is mild bulging of the disc
without focal disc herniation. There is facet and ligamentum
hypertrophy. No evidence for stenosis.
Well-defined linear hyperintense signal is seen within the
spinal cord in the T2-weighted sagittal sequence extending from
mid body of T7 to the level of mid body of T10. This in the
T1-weighted sequence demonstrates isointense signal. Findings are
likely related related to a mild hydromyelia rather than a syrinx
Mild degenerative changes are seen in the visualized portions of
the cervical spine with disc space narrowing and likely marginal
osteophytes at C4-C5.
Visualized paraspinal soft tissues are within normal limits.
Mild degenerative changes with bulging of the discs at the level
of T2-T3 and T10-T11 as well as T11-T12 without focal disc
herniations. There is no stenosis.
This report indicates signs of degenerative disc disease or DDD in the lumbar region.
There are plenty of online sources describing DDD and its treatment. Everyone develops DDD to some extent -- a result of walking upright. But for some unknown reason, some people develop it sooner than others. I was first diagnosed with DDD in my late 20s.
Lookup the condition "degenerative disc disease" on a spine site, like spineuniverse.com or spine-health.com and read all about it.
Common with DDD is a syndrome called facet arthrosis or facet syndrome. This is an osteoarthritic condition of the facet joints that allow you to bend your spine and can be quite painful. Treatment for facet syndrome is a non-surgical procedure called RFA or nerve ablation, performed by a board-certified pain and spine doctor.
These docs are MDs with advanced training in anesthesiology, pain, and procedures that block pain at the nerve level. These docs have the credentials MD, DABPM after their name, as they are board certified by the American Board of Pain Management.
Also reported is a moderate degree of foraminal stenosis at the lowest lumbar levels. This can cause radiating sharp pain called radiculopathy, usually in the buttocks and/or leg, as scar tissue called osteophytes press into the nerve roots exiting either side of the spine to innervate these areas. Osteophytes are calciferous and can have sharp edges -- they can act like little pins sticking into the nerve and cause sharp, stabbing pain.
You will probably be referred to a surgeon, but I suggest that you get an opinion from a pain and spine doctor (DABPM) also. Surgery should be reserved as a treatment of last resort unless your spine is in imminent danger.
Sometimes surgery causes more pain than it intends to treat, so if anyone is recommending surgery, get a second opinion.
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