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Appreciate some opinions and where I go from here.

OgothorpeOOgothorpe Posts: 2
edited 08/11/2013 - 8:05 AM in Chronic Pain
As a new member here I would appreciate your help.

Im 40 yrs old who has had 5 operations already on my spine. Recently I had a MRI scan and a few days ago received the report. I won't go into too much detail for now as I want to read your opinions first. However I have been told there is nothing that can be done for me surgically.

Here is a pic from my latest MRI.





  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • is equipped to give you an opinion since none of us are doctors and it would not be wise for anyone here to suggest anything regarding your images.
    It is also a forum rule that members do not give medical advice. You really should wait until you see the doctor who ordered the MRI before starting to read too much into what you might think that you see on the images.
  • I have just been told after 8 years the reason why they can't do anything for me surgically. The specialist is the first one who has explained to me that if they operate there is an extremely high chance of paralysis.

    He said that the outcomes for surgery are bad if they operate where my vertebrae is crushed. Mine is different to your MRI. He is the first one who has not just dismissed me because they can't do anything, and has acknowledged my pain. When you see your specialist ask him to explain the reason that they cannot operate honestly and to show you why, on the skeleton of the spine.

    It is your central nervous system and sometimes it is more dangerous to operate and the outcomes can be worse. There are some things that cannot be fixed but it was so good to have that acknowledged and the reasons explained clearly so at last I stop spending money going to different specialists, who dismiss me as they cannot operate but have never really explained in simple language why.
  • OgothorpeOOgothorpe Posts: 2
    edited 08/11/2013 - 1:35 PM
    Thank you for the replies so far.

    Unfortunately I will not be seeing my specialist as I received my results via a telephone call from a physiotherapist who was the medical professional who referred me for an MRI.

    I shall explain a little more about myself and I will add I live in the UK.

    Like I said earlier I have already had five operations on my spine. Now four of these operations have been discectomys which were at the L4-S1 level and these were open procedures rather than using minimal invasive techniques. One of these operations was a spinal fusion using bone grafts without any metal work which failed as I experienced another disc prolapse 12 months after the fusion.

    During the phone call of my recent MRI I was told I had severe degeneration of my discs between L4/L5 and further disc prolapse at this level. However like I say I was told further surgery isn't required and have been referred to a pain management clinic for injections.

    What is concerning me is when I asked for my MRI disc I didn't expect to understand how to read it. However even to my untrained eye im concerned how closely together the vertebrae are to each other at L4/L5. The discs are clearly visible above this level but seem to have disappeared between L4/L5 and L5/S1.

    This next MRI picture of mine concerns me even more. Correct me if im wrong but where have myspinous proceses gone at L4-S1!!

    I appreciate members cannot give advice on my MRI but even an opinion would help.

  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 08/12/2013 - 2:09 AM
    As has already been pointed out, we are not allowed to comment on other people's MRI scans.

    I thought that I would share my experience, which may be helpful.
    I am also in the UK.
    I had a lumbar decompression (laminectomy) and fusion of L4/5 due to a spondylolisthesis (a slipped vertebra).

    Before my surgery the disc where the slipped vertebra was had been pushed out backwards by the slippage. The discs above and below were degenerated and had lost height and were bulging. From other MRI scan of the whole of my spine, it can be seen that I have a lot of degenerated and collapsed discs. During my fusion, the laminectomy part of my surgery entailed the removing of the spinous processes and lamina. This was done to get the pressure of my central and lateral nerves. I now just have scar tissue there where the bone used to be. I did have titanium rods and screws used in the fusion in addition to a plastic cage. The removed bone was ground up and placed inside the cage and alongside the vertebra to encourage my bone to grow and fuse my spine. The discs above and below L4/5, that was removed and fused, are still bulging and I do still get some lower back and sciatic pain, but nothing like the pain I experienced before my fusion.

    I have gone on to have 2 levels of my neck fused where I had discs and bony spurs compressing my spinal cord. Again there are other discs in my neck that are almost completely gone where they have degenerated. My surgeon has said that they will eventually fuse themselves if they haven't already. As there is now fluid around my spinal cord, he is not proposing more surgery.

    My experience of the Pain Clinic was that they viewed my MRIs and talked to me about why I was expereincing the pain. For me they said the injections wouldn't help me and I went on to have the fusions.
    Hopefully at your Pain Management Clinic appointment they will be able to talk to you a bit more about why you are in pain still and I hope that the injections will give you relief of your pain.

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