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MRI RESULTS- Back Surgery results-

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone x

I am finding it hard to except my condition and would MOST GRATEFULLY appreciate it if anybody be able to explain the following MRI results through to the operation explanation in a non-medical way. I know that most of us on here are in a similar position so hopefully the answers could help others too....

FINDINGS on the 28-August-2005 -
L4/L5 demonstrates disc desiccation, posterior annular disruption and a small central disc extension below the level of the intervertebral disc consistent with a small disc extrusion. There is nominal indentation of anterior midline thecal sac and no neural compression suggested.

L5/S1 demonstrates disc desiccation, mild disc height loss and a broad based central and right paracentral disc protrusion with superimposed right paracentral extending into intervertebral foramen and lateral recess disc extrusion. Hence, this disc extrusion is lobulated and extends superiorly from the parent disc. It obliterates the right L5 lateral recess. Compromise of the right L5 nerve root in the lateral recess and extending into the medial aspect of the intervertebral foramen with disc inferior to the nerve root at this location is suggested

Degenerative intervertebral disc disease L4/5 and L5/S1. In particular, there is broad based shallow L5/S1 disc protrusion with superimposed lobulated extrusion in the paracentral region involving the lateral recess and right intervertebral foramen adjacent aspect due to extension of disc material superiorly from the parent disc. Associated neural compromise right L5 nerve root.

OPERATION PERFORMED on the 30-August-2005


Large paracentral and foraminal and cephlad disc fragment retrieved. QUITE STUCK UNDER THE PLL

3cm incision at L5/S1 which was later confirmed with XR. Right hemilaminectomy of S1 and L5 flavectomy. Thecal sac and descending S1 nerve root visualised.

Discectomy performed by incising the space retrieving disc with ronguers and currettes. Right angle passed cephlad and lateral to the foramen freely, although the exiting L5 nerve root was not visualised.

Questions -

1. does this description give notion to me having 'cauda equina'??? I couldn't pee, had total loss of feeling in right leg which started in the top of my foot and by the day before the op, TOTAL feeling lost all over from buttoch to big toe.

2. What does Quite stuck under the PLL mean???

3. Are there any points here that would lead me to today, over 3 years on, to still be experiencing numbness and horrid pain in my outer right ankle, outer calf, numb and sometimes feeling of disconnected big toe and of course, pain in my buttoch and lower back???

It has been revealed from an MRI performed in September 2008 that I have a large amount of scar tissue under the nerve and this is said as the reason for my pain. Although in saying that, Since before and straight after the op and now I haven't since regained full feeling in my toe and outer ankle area.


My neurologists are in the public sector and shit as it is, I am just another number.

I will be having another steroid injection on tuesday which should help like it did last time. Hopefully longer than 5 weeks though.


  • My post above was posted on the 21st march 2009. I know it was awhile ago that i had the op but i am still experiencing ALOT of pain. Any ideas would help at this time.

    Thanks x
  • My post above was posted on the 21st march 2009. I know it was awhile ago that i had the op but i am still experiencing ALOT of pain. Any ideas would help at this time.

    Thanks x

  • Sorry about your on going pain, I can only give you my opinion. I would have another MRI. It sounds like you may have reherniated a disk. if there is scar tissue causing all this pain then they should be able to remove it. I believe you had a ruptured disk and that caused the cauda equina. All the symptoms you are describing are caused by a pinched nerve root. If it's been 4 years since surgery and you still have the pain , you probably have some nerve damage. Things should have healed by now. I would go back and see a nuerosurgen. he can tell you if theres anything they can do. They can test your nerves to see how much damage there is. I'm no doctor I only can go by some of the things I understand. Good Luck. Just remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so don't let them make you a number.
  • You can search for "dermatome map" and will find that the pain you are experiencing is typical of the pain that radiates from an L5 and S1 nerve root.

    When these nerves are compressed, it can result in bladder or bowel complications, symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. It is possible that the compression from the herniated disc caused permanent nerve damage, which is why you still have the symptoms you had prior to surgery.

    You could have exchanged one source of pain (the disc) for another (scar tissue), or it is possible there is still a disc fragment that was missed during your surgery that is still pressing on the nerve. Perhaps there is another herniation. Unfortunately, a surgery can be done perfectly and the patient can still end up with the same pain she/he had prior to surgery.

    Would it be possible to have a different spinal specialist review your MRIs and consult with you?
  • it seems that the dr's aren't listening to you and assume the pain is just from the surgery....I too had surgery 3 years ago at l4-L5 for a cyst and did alot better but always had pain post-op but nothing like before surgery..this past Jan it got very bad and went to a local hospital where they did an MRI and said I had a herniated disc at L4 and sent me to rehab...my at home PT and visiting nurse told me to persue further otptions because I should not be having so much pain, even after taking all the different meds I take, it took a while but the vising nurse gave me a name of a neuro-surgeon who listened to me and ordered a myelogram, which no Dr. had ever ordered and the results showed not only the herniateion of the disc but the stenosis where I had the previous surgery which I always believed was the scar tissue pressing on the nerves but no one every believed me....now I am scheduled for disc fusion surgery for L4-S1 because scoliosis is developing further up, and there is arthritis developing also...now I know it is will not take 100% of the pain away but I am willing to try to get most of the pain away...I never had luck with the inujections but that is a personal choice.....find someome who will prescribe a myelogram so they can actually see what is going...I wish you all the best and if you have any questions you can PM me any time...I am not on all the time but try to get on as often as I can because I am scared of my upcoming surgery and get great advice from these good friends on this site....
  • Thanks guys,

    I have been told that removing the scar tissue will only create more in that area?

    I saw a neurosurgeon (they change each time i go btw) and he said there's nothing they can do except a nerve sheath injection and also gave me an appointment for the persistent pain clinic. To do fusion they would have to fuse L4/L5 & L5/S1 because i have degenerative disc disease in both and they also say it wouldn't do me much good because i wouldn't be able to bend. If it was higher in the spine it would be fine.
    I am at a loss. I m a sole mum with very little family support and am unable to work full time due to pain and immobility. My family think i need to be tougher but they don't know how having this pain for so long has really messed with my head in every way. I am constantly having to take pain killers everywhere I go, I have terrible mood swings I feel i can't have relationships because of fear that they'll think I'm too much work and I am scared I'll let them down somehow. Happiness has become a dream and each time I feel happy about something I am under the belief that soon enough It will be gone. I have seen a phychiatrist and counsellers and talked about it but i am the one who leaves and am still in pain. I truly am at a loss and yes very depressed. I have little money and i run a business which has suffered. My motivation has pretty much depleted in the past year. I am angry alot and I cry alot. I am sure many have heard and been in this situation and at the moment there's no light and not much reason of life other than my child. My friends always looked to me for a smile and now i am so lifeless they don't look to me at all. That's one of the hardest parts. It's also hard to tell anyone how i feel because I am sure then that i'll be seen as weak and a negative being, no one likes to be around people like that and there are even some that would love to know that i am failing as they are jealous of my past business endeavours and would love to know how i struggle now. What do i do and where do i go from here. I need money to get a second opinion and i just don't have it and lack the motivation to try to get it.Just seems like a waste of time. The words 'snap out of it' don't work because it's those words alone i have said to myself which have gotten me to my apparent good business and brainy child. But now those words don't work so what should i say now.

    Thanks to you guys for the support and time in replying to my post. Wishing you all the best xx
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