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What is a vacuum cleft?
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What is a vacuum cleft?

47 y.o. female with chronic low back pain first diagnosed in 2008.  I was scuba diving on vacation last week when after the 3rd dive of the day I was sitting on the boat with my leg crossed and I started to get tingling and numbness in the left leg below the knee and foot.  No other symptoms to suggest DCI..... I've had tingling before but always resolved it by stretching my leg out.  This time I completely lost feeling below the knee for over 1 hour.  It came back as soon as I got off the boat and started walking.  No residual issues and was able to dive the next day without issue.  The doctor ordered X-ray and MRI.   The insurance company is denying the MRI right now so only have the xray.

Here's part of the report:   Comparison with exam of '08 was made.  There are progressive degenerative disc changes at L4-L5 which include some uniform loss in disc space, progressive marginal spurring in addition to a vacuum cleft. (a couple of other notes not that important)

I know the disc space if DDD.... what does the vacuum cleft mean?  A google search doesn't give me any good info on this.    Is it common or rare?
2 Comments Post a Comment
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I'm bumping this in hopes of getting a response.... thanks.
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Hi there!

The vacuum cleft is a radiological sign and could be noted secondary to decompression injury, post-traumatic ischemic necrosis, osteoporosis, corticosteroid therapy, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, alcoholism, multiple myeloma, bone metastasis, osteomyelitis, multiple myeloma etc. It would be best to discuss the report in detail with your radiologist and treating orthopedician.
Hope this information is helpful.

Take care!
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