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6 (six) lumber type vertebral bodies

virginiapvvirginiap Posts: 508
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi all, I am new to this site and I think it is great! I have been suffering from chronic low back pain for 5 years (no obvious trama trigger). Have gone through all the conservative therapies. NS has been telling me I need surgery for years, but have opted for cadual injections instead and buying time... hoping for a miracle to avoid surgery.

Ok my question is, after having 4 MRI's of the lumbar spine and 2 of the pelvis/sacrum as well as countless Xrays, post discogram 10 days ago I had my first ct scan. The radiolgist states several times in his dictation that there are 6 vertebral and he keeps referring to level L6-S1....

Is this possible, has anyone heard of this? if so, why was it never indicated on prior films????? Is there a difference in MRI's & CT scans??

Thanks for your insight.


  • Hi & Welcome,

    Normally people have 5 lumbar discs (L1-5), however, it is no uncommon for people to have an extra vertabrae L6. The presence of a 6th vertabrae doesn't necessarily create an issue.

    Here's an article that might be helpful in explaining why it was never 'explicitly' clear to you.


  • :H Hi, and thanks for the link.
    I just thought it odd that no mention of this 6th disc was indicated on any other films. The article is so right, it is so confusing trying to match up the CT & MRI.
    thanks again.
  • Just curious, have you seen the Radiolgy reports from your previous MRIs?

    I only ask b/c for the 3 MRI's I had of my lower spine, I asked for a copy of the images on CD Disc so I could keep them on file. I later learned and realized that it is also good to go and ask for a copy of the radiology report b/c that actually gives you the written evaluation of the MRI results. Of course they are in "radiology medical" language but good to have on file for these types of situations.

    Usually I can walk out the door with a copy of the images but have to return or request the report which is typically available 24-36 hours after the actual MRI is done.
  • Yes, I have copies of all the reports. I also have films and CD.
    Actually my NS gave me all my latest films in hand so i can hand delivery to ortho spinal surgeon (he is referring me for a 2nd opinion) post discogram.
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