Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

MRI results

LcashLLcash Posts: 24
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello fellow spineys. I had a 2 level anterior cervical fusion of the c5-c6, c6-c7 in November and have a followup appointment next week. Before that appointment I got orders for a Lumber MRI due to lower back pain and sciatic pain in the right leg. Here are the MRI results. Can anyone help me to know what any of this means?

The appearances suggest the presence of a transitional vertebral level.

For the purpose of this report will consider this to represent a patency of the S1-S2 interspace.

The spinal canal dimensions appear adequate.

There is mild facet hypertrophy especially noted at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels.

The disc spaces are well-maintained in height.

There is no definite disc herniation seen at the levels of L1-L2 and L2-L3.

At L3-L4 there is a 2mm diffuse disc herniation.

At L4-L5 there is a 3mm diffuse disc herniation.

At L5-S1 there is no sizable disc herniation.

At the interspace of S1-S2 the disc is narrow but otherwise unremarkable.


1. Lumberization of S1 level assumed with patent disc space between S1 and S2.
2. 2mm Diffuse disc herniation at L3-L4.
3. 3mm diffuse disc herniation at L4-L5'
4. There is facet hypertrophy also at both of these levels noted.

This is all Greek to me so any help would be appreciated.

The pain in the arms after the neck surgery has gone but I am left with some sever headaches which I am going to mention to the Dr when I see him next week. Thanks again for any help in this as I am anxious and nervous about the prospect of back surgery.



  • I wish I could help.
    There's a lot there for me and anything I say would be speculation since I don't speak the language either.

    Sorry about the pain in your leg.
    How bad on a scale of 1 to 10?
    Is it just pain or is it weakness and/or numbness too?

    If it's just pain, were you taking ibuprofin/advil before surgery? I assume you aren't taking any now b/c I know it is can inhibit the 'fusion'. My thought is that if it's low-pain, it might be manageable with steroid or PT until your neck starts fusing and you are allowed to take ibuprofin.

    Hopefully it's nothing more than that.
    Many people can show MRI indications of mass herniation and feel no pain and others show no indication but feel a ton of pain.

    I'll pray that yours is just being caused by temporary stress and inability to take anti-inflammtories.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    I'm not a doctor and we don't read MRIs here, but the lower back pain might be coming from your facet joints.

    I only say this because I had a diffuse disc bulge at L4/5 with facet joint hypertrophy and stenosis at that level and my symptoms were lower back pain, hip pain and pain down the back of both legs to my knees. I was fine bending forward, but bending backwards made the pain worse.

    If you problems are indeed facet joint related, they can do injections that might help the inflamation.

    Like I said, I'm not a doctor, just telling you of my experience with lower back problems.

    Please let us know what your doctor says.
  • Of course you must talk with your doctor to get an accurate reading of your MRI...

    but I can help a little bit with the language.

    "The appearances suggest the presence of a transitional vertebral level."

    You have a condition that most likely is congenital. In most people there are five sacral vertebrae which fuse together by the time adulthood is reached. In your case, the top sacral vertebra, S1 has not fused to those beneath it, so it functions with more movement, more like a lumbar vertebra...thus the "lumbarization" of the S1 vertebra. This does not normally cause pain (but I'm sure could in rare cases).

    The report goes on to say that the space between S1 and S2 is unobstructed and open (patent), but a bit narrow.

    There are two small diffuse disc herniations at L3-4 and L4-5. There are two types of herniations in radiologic "talk," diffuse and focal. Focal is a more pin-point, localized herniation. Diffuse, which you have, are over a wider space. They can cause a bigger variety of symptoms and make it more difficult to isolate the pain generator.

    A diffuse herniation can cause pain on the left side, or the right side, or it can switch back and forth.

    At these same levels there is some enlargement of the facet joints. It is a type of "arthritis." You can read more about it here:

    This is an interpretation of the language. I'll leave it to your doctor to tell you how it relates to the lumbar pain you are experiencing!!


  • I did not take anything for pain other than tylenol since I cannot take NSAIDS due to a former gastric bypass. The headaches are what worry me most as they are getting stonger.

    As for the back if helps if I stoop over but when I walk regularly it feels like I am a sway-back horse :D The pain is intolerable after about 15-20 minutes of walking.

    Once again, thanks all for your reply's and Gwinnie, you are in my prayers. I used to work for the health insurance comapnies and I know what you are going through! Keep fighting and they will relent.

  • Have you had a flexion/extension X-ray on your lumbar and sacral spine? That might be a good thing to do to check for instability/spondylolisthesis.

    I have now heard from a number of health professionals that there is a substantial increase in the number of denials for both surgeries and procedures and tests like discograms beginning the first of the year. This is from a number of different insurance companies, not just "my" company.
Sign In or Register to comment.