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Disk Calcification
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Disk Calcification


  I am a 50 year old male with a laundry-list of bodily conditions which run the range from mildly embarrassing to extremely vexing and painful.  The condition which occupies the top spot in terms of concern is sciatica.  An October 1987 CT scan of my lumbar spine indicated "severe spinal stenosis caused by calcified bulging disk at L4-L5 with marked decrease in the A-P diameter of the thecal sac to less than 10 millimeters".
  For 30 of my 50 years I have experienced episodic lower back and leg discomforts, and in 1987 they were commanding enough of my attention for me to seek a diagnosis.
  The diagnosis is as above.  The prognosis associated with this unmistakeable condition is inevitable discomfort, with an inexorable escalation of intensity, frequency, and duration of symptoms all but guaranteed.
  I had no idea that my troubles were shared by so many others until I purchased my first computer and began utilizing the internet.  As any reader of this post who sympathizes with me probably realizes, I have been searching for information on how to deal with this condition. From all that I have gathered, the prevailing medical wisdom seems to be to exhaust all possible avenues of conservative (and possibly even alternative) treatments before attempting a surgical intervention.
  I apologize for rambling and will get to the point.  Things are predictably getting worse for me and the spectre of disability is looming on the horizon.
  I have not seen the term "calcified bulging disk" used anywhere but on my CT scan.  No one but I, my family doctor, and the hospital where it was performed has ever seen the CT scan results.
  What would it mean to an orthopedic surgeon, who, it would seem to me, would be the agency best suited to offer me any relief?  (as far as any decision to perform surgery is concerned)
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Dear William,
You should seek the opinion of a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon who has experience in spine surgery.  That the disc is a bit calcified is of no particular concern in itself.  The larger issue is spinal canal stenosis and foramenal stenosis where the nerve root exits.  These areas of compression cause most of the symptoms.  
See one of the surgeons noted above for an opinion on your situation.  You may find relief from your problems with surgery, though it is difficult to say based on the information provided.
Good luck.






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