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MRI Interpretation Help

DaveBeeDDaveBee Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Can anyone interpret these MRI results into English?

"There is a large right lateral recess and foraminal disc extrusion impinging on the descending right C8 and exiting right C7 nerve roots. The left lateral recess and neural foramen are patent. There is left uncovertable joint hypertrophy with mild left foraminal narrowing."

Its painful (primarily in my right arm), but slightly better than a week ago when it was ungodly painful 24/7. No numbness but fairly significant loss of strength on the right tricep. My right side is also experiencing muscle spasms about 50% of the time, although they have been getting a little better after steroids.

The OS says surgery, and fast to prevent any (further?) permanent nerve damage - steroids have helped a tiny bit, so injections might provide temporary relief but it isn't ever going to get 100% better on its own. I am inclined to agree with him - surgery vs the pain is barely a question. Does this seem like a reasonable diagnosis though?



  • Hello Dave and Welcome to Spine-health.

    No one here is going to comment or interpret MRI films for you, unless they had the exact same thing; but it sounds like the gel-like portion of your disc is compressing a nerve - the only way to really address is when your have neurological compromise (and weakness is) is to remove the portion of the disc that has leaked onto the nerve roots.
    So I presume he offered a microdiscectomy of the disc or did he say there wasn't enough good disc there to serve the purpose of a disc and offer you someone more drastic like an ADR or fusion?
    Safe to say - when it doubt, assuming you don't have a neurological emergency, get a second opinion. If he said its an emergency - don't wait for us to tell you what to do!
    The question I think is not a question of surgery versus pain management, its surgery to reduce further neurological compromise. In questions of surgery vs. pain management, I tend to recommend exhausting pain management before considered major surgery. But when neurological compromise is already present and the surgeon says you need surgery ASAP, that's pretty straightforward. Safe to safe a fair number here will tell you the longer you wait the more likely you are to have permanent nerve damage. And, in waiting things can literally get worse with one wrong move...
    How do you feel about the surgeon? Do you trust him?
  • Sorry - forgot to mention the actual surgery (duh). The surgeon recommends a single-level ACDF as the best option - stealthing this forum and the internet gives me plenty to chew on on that front, and I think I understand the surgery pretty well now. He mentioned both just removing the herniation and some kind of disc replacement (sorry - was hard to pay full attention at the time), but the former was likely to incur an increased risk of relapse year on year, and the latter wasn't the best option in his opinion, so ACDF is likely.

    The surgeon I feel very good about - if I have to have surgery, this would be the guy even if I did get a second opinion. I'll be scheduling shortly I suspect.

    I would still like to know what "left lateral recess and neural foramen are patent" means though - not from a personal diagnosis standpoint so much as I literally have no idea what the heck it means.

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