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Medical terms and jargon

eajosepheeajoseph Posts: 315
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I saw my PCP this morning to get the results of my MRI and CT scan before I see the neurosurgeon tomorrow. I wanted time to understand what the report says so I can be a knowledgeable participant in my own care. My PCP called the N/S twice to talk about the findings and the N/S has not called back. The PA at the N/S office called me at 8:15 AM Friday and it sounded like she was in a panic. Wanted to know if my PCP's office had my films. No I have them. I had a copy of the report sent to them. I always do. If anything new happens I want them to know what is happening with my health even if another doctor is seeing me.

Anyway. I am reading the report and trying to understand a few of the terms and see if I can find potential causes. I don't like being surprised in the dr's office. This one especially right now. BTW, I am scheduled to for a second opinion on the 15th; PCP had me call and see if I could be moved up after reading the report.

Is anyone familiar with any portion or all of this? "There is cortical irregularity to the left lamina with regional osteopenia. This could indicate post laminectomy changes. Please make a note that even though the evaluation is limited by the lack of contrast, there is suggestion of a soft tissue density. This may represent scar tissue or however the possibility of infection cannot be excluded. Cortical irregularity of teh poterior lateral L5 vertebral body is seen on the left side."

The radiologist's impression was "Post surgical findings versus diskitis and osteomyelitis especially at L4-5. Correlation with patient's symptoms and clinical followup is recommended. Intervertegral disc stabillizer appears to be in satisfactory position."

I know this is very clinical and that we're not doctors. I'm hoping that somebody can help me shed a little light on this before tomorrow morning. Thanks (Sorry this was so long.)


  • Diskitis means that there is an infection of the vertebral disc space and osteomyeolitis also means infection of the vertebral space. When acute it can cause fever and localized pain and spasms.

    Osteopenia means lower than normal bone mineral density peak but not low enough to classify as osteoporosis.

    That is all I can say because I cannot read MRI's and I'm not a doctor. I think you need to call your NS and get in with them very soon so they can get to the bottom of this. If you have fever and worsening pain, please go the ER for treatment. Let us know how you're doing. Take care
  • The person who wrote the comments wants to draw attention to a particular area of the MRI. "Please make a note that even though the evaluation is limited by the lack of contrast, there is suggestion of a soft tissue density."

    The findings are not clear as you did not have "contrast" when you had the MRI...so he is saying that he can't tell if the density that is showing in the soft tissue is scar tissue OR it could be an infection. (He writes possibility of infection cannot be excluded.)

    It may be normal scar tissue but he wants to make sure your doctor talks to you about it and looks for any symptoms like a fever, as this "mass" COULD be an infection.

    The MRI findings are not definitive. What the radiologist sees on the films could be a perfectly normal part of surgery or it could be signs of infection. He wants to be sure your doctor follows up on this, as it would be very serious and should be treated right away IF it is infection.

    I am very glad you are seeing your surgeon tomorrow.
  • This is why you should leave MRI's and other test results to the doctors to read, understand and dictate for your understanding ;)
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,874
    Members on this site on not medically qualified to provide MRI or other diagnostic test analysis. This type of information should ONLY be obtained from your doctor.
    No matter how much personal experience a member has here, they could be providing a major injustice by giving out analysis of someone's diagnostic testing.

    So PLEASE you can read what people want to post about tests, but STILL ONLY listen to what your doctor is telling you.

    We have tried over and over to get this message across the board. This can potentially be a very dangerous item if not watched closely.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I've worked in healthcare for over 8 years, and as a nurse for several years, the jargons beyond me and I work acute medsurg.

  • I did state in my first post that I knew that responses were not from medical professionals. I did see a doctor about the MRI and CT Scan and he gave me a copy. I was only looking to understand a few of the terms more clearly. I don't really trust my current n/s; therefore, I am being proactive right now.

    The MRI was with and without contrast. The radiologist's comments were from the CT scan which was without contrast since the surgeon did not order contrast for that test. I did both on the same day; MRI first then CT scan.

    Thanks Meydey and Gwennie. I really do appreciate your help. :)

    Jakotsu.....thanks for reminding me of the surgeon that I have. Ever had a doctor that you feel is hiding something from you???? That's where I'm at. That's why I'm trying to understand as much as possible before I see him again. I want to be as knowledgeable as possible so I can be my own advocate. Does this make sense??????

    Ron--I wasn't asking anyone to diagnose anything. I wanted to have a better understanding of the medical terminology in this report. That's why I typed it out. I saw my PCP today and still needed some help. I thought that's what these boards were about. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

    I'm worried about the results of these tests. I could tell by the way my PCP talked this morning that he is concerned. This is not his specialty though. I'm tired of so much pain and not getting answers. Last visit, he was arrogant and said it could just be a vitamin deficiency.
  • If you feel the surgeon is hiding something from you go to another surgeon.

    This isn't mean to offend, but often patients become paranoid which leads to a lot of issues.
  • Jakotsu--Your last post did offend me. I am not paranoid. You have not met this doctor. I am going to see another surgeon; however, I also know that there is a chance that another doctor might not want to touch me. It happens. I'm not giving up on finding a qualified n/s that I trust and will be able to help me. I have followed every instruction and have consistently gotten worse. I don't see how being an advocate for your own health translates to paranoid and causing issues.
  • I know what you mean about feeling like you're not told everything. My first surgeon withheld the fact that I reherniated the same disc 1 month post op, ANOTHER disc herniation, and that I had other problems such as retrolisthesis, continuing nerve impingement, and a hemangioma. I found out 6 months later when I picked up my films and reports for a consult with an NS. I was livid and felt betrayed. I wondered why they were doing 2 post op epidural ESI's on another level that I wasn't aware it was causing problems. It's weird but I still like my old surgeon but hate that he found it necessary to keep information from me.

    Sometimes I try to get info that way I know what I'm walking into when I go for a follow up doctor visit. I admit that I'm inpatient too. I like to be ahead of the game so that when something is recommended, I already know about it and am reassured my doctor is doing the right thing. ;)
  • Beth, also keep in mind that 10 different radiologists can give you 10 different interpretations of the same set of films.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • My appt today was a waste of time, money, and energy to get there. He blew off the MRI and CT. Didn't explain things. I'm very grateful that I understood the jargon first. He said he had no idea why I'm in so much pain. He said that the protusion on the scan wasn't a big deal and that it could be a piece of disc tissue that got left behind or scar tissue. He did give me a slip to do bloodwork to rule out infection but he said he's sure it's not since I don't have the symptoms. /:) Cuz of course, everyone has all the same symptoms. :/ The n/s suggested that I get a second opinion. No kiddin' Sherlock; I've already scheduled one.

    He said that however much pain I have at the one year mark is the pain I'll have for the rest of my life. At this rate, I don't know what I'll do. My pain gets worse. The simple little ankle pumps they had me doing in the hospital makes my feet go numb, burn and tingle. I'm serious. The simple little exercises just about send me into tears. :''(

    Praying that the second opinion can help. Don't know what the treatment would be if I have a bone infection but something tells me that I don't want to know. KWIM.

    Meydey--You sound a lot like me. I do research and try to understand things so I won't be surprised. I check out as many possible scenarios as possible. Gotta cover those bases.

    Paul--I hadn't thought about different radiologists reading the films differently.
  • Some surgeons go for the radiologist's report right way and read the films second, some couldn't care less about the report and go right for the films.
    I don't like that the guy blew off both.

    Keep fighting. Shop your films around.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Sorry your appt went sour and the NS pretty much dismissed the imaging. I'm glad you're a step ahead and already have that second opinion set up. When are you going in for the bloodwork? I sure hope it's negative because osteomyolitis is pretty dangerous and I'd hate for you to go through that. Please let us know how that consult goes, and perhaps they'll come up with something to help you. Take care and hang in there
  • Thanks Paul and Meydey. I'm definitely not happy with the current dr. I would've been happier if he acted as if he wanted to figure this out. But it really seemed like he didn't want to bother with me.

    I had my blood drawn today. Should know in 2 to 3 days if I have an infection. I'm struggling with the feeling that I would have been better off not doing the surgery. Kind of sad considering how I felt pre-op but now that I feel worse.......... KWIM?

    Definitely hoping that the 2nd opinion goes better on the 15th. Will let you know how things go. Thanks for all the support.
  • "Correlation with patient's symptoms and clinical followup is recommended".Exactly the same words I had in my second post- op MRI.Two MRI's later,I was diagnosed with Osteomyelitis.
    I did not have symptoms,either.No fever,no high WBC count.Nada!Until they decided it's an infection,I was drawn in
    steroids.This suppressed my immune system and the infection had a field day with my disk and two vertebrae.More than a year later I still live with the results.And hope....
    You are right about being your own advocate.Some doctors will
    blow you off.If you don't stand up,nobody will.Do not give up and do not let anybody dismiss your pain.
    Good luck with everything.

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