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Help understanding report

Started by Qwiksting on 01/23/2019 3:57pm

This MRI report, I dont understand the lingo. Is this severe, something to be concerned with? The Nurse called me from my General Docs office today. She is setting up a consult with pain management, and suggested “shots” in the affected are. L5-S1 maybe?. I have had previous experience with “shots” as I eventually had to have an ACDF C5-C7 2 1/2 years ago. Shot burned like hell, hurt like hell, and was effective for like 2 days. This was in my shoulder neck area. Once my neck surgery was done, 3 months it was feeling a lot better. And now my neck is fine except for weather changes. . Now I have lower back issues. This is the report and Doctor “Talk” from my MRI yesterday. I wonder If I should get my Neck (ACDF) surgeon Doctor involved with this as well as go to Pain Managment.

The limited disc protrusion central and bilateral paracentralobserved previously has dehydrated and retracted some posterolatterally to the right; the mild bilateral ligament up flavum hypertrophy is again apparent: moderate encroachment of the left foramen and limited crowding towards the left extrathecal S1 root; very slight effacement towards the right; correlation as to effect; the intrathecal and exiting L5 roots in the widely patent canal and recesses are otherwise unremarkable; chronic appearance.

Limited to mild gradual rotary scoliosis pattern confirmed; slight compensatory endplate findings generally away from the canal towards mild L1-2 and without encroachment concerns or any other concerns from T10-11 through L4-5 and at the sacral level through mid S3; limited rudimentary disc at S1-2.


At L5-S1 slight dehydration and retraction of the slight limited known disc protrusion posteriorly at L5-S1; persistent crowding toward the left S1 root with contribution from mild bilateral ligamentum flavum hypertrophy as discussed; extreme slight effacement towards the right S1 root; diminished;correlation;chronicity.

2. Underlying mild scoliosis; compensatory endplate findings away from the canal; otherwise unremarkable and stable exam.

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5 Responses


Hi, Quiksting—You sound very much like me! Same ACDF for same cervical vertebra, same surgical results, same period of time before lumbar pain made me look for options! I ended up with an open laminectomy and fusion of L3-L5. Your problems may be limited to L5-S1.

You need to know that lumbar surgery can be vastly different from cervical. According to my surgeon, this is the biggest surgery you can have. My post-surgical pain was insanely bad! Needed much more pain meds and for much longer. I’m 21 months out and my pre-surgical pain is mostly gone, but I still have pain, just different!

My understanding is that once they fuse lumbar vertebra, your body has to adjust to the “mechanical” changes in weight-bearing and the way you will walk. That takes a lot of time and patience to resolve. After 20-30 min. of walking, I still get mild to moderate pain in my lower back and numbness in my thigh. Both resolve within 10 minutes if I sit down. I really expect improvement to continue for the next few months at least, though slowly.

My surgery may be very different from what you might have done, but I hope to spare you the surprise I felt when it was a much, much bigger deal than my ACDF! Take your time, if you can, and try all the alternative treatments you can before you give in to surgery. Best wishes!


Bonnie, what symptoms did you have that caused you to go the surgical route? Did you try injections?


Quiksting, I had had lower back pain now and then for many years that was better with heat or ice. Then I began having severe numbness and aching in my upper front thighs. I began about 1 hr twice a week on the treadmill. It did not help! In fact my calves began to hurt like constant muscle spasms. It got to be where I couldn’t walk more than 5 min without severe leg pain. I tried chiropractor, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, heat, ice and water aerobics. Finally I saw a physiatrist who ordered an MRI, nerve tests and then an epidural injection which did not help at all. I then saw the neurosurgeon who had done my ACDF and who I totally trust. He said that the DDD that caused my neck surgery was the same thing happening in my lumbar spine. That made sense to me! I saw no reason to think that alternative treatments would help.


Quiksting- I forgot to mention that my lumbar MRI showed spondylolisthesis (unstable vertebra slipped out of alignment with each other). Another big reason for my decision for surgery!


I am in agreement with Bonnie. I have had 3 cervical surgeries and 3 lumbar. Cervicals were much easier to recover from- my last one was quite invasive, too. Removing my old pins and plates, fusions on 3 levels and a cage. I have recovered well and have minimal pain. My lumbar surgeries are a far different story- ongoing pain, severe muscle spasms... I can’t recommend unless absolutely necessary. Your MRI doesn’t appear to me( layperson ) like surgery would help. I’d be most concerned about the nerve root issue and ask about that? Good luck.