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Help understanding (spine) MRI results?

Hello all :)

Im maria,

I had a spinal fusion to correct scoliosis almost 10 years ago (13) and everything seemed to be fine until I became pregnant in 2011... well, i did have pain, but it was bearable... ive been suffering ever since my lasy trimester ... my back alwats hurts, my legs/feet randomly get numb (for days at a time) . i have terrible sciatica and i just feel drained. Im only 23 and im sick of feeling this way... there are days that i can barely get out of bed..... ive had a million xrays... no answers.... so i finally decided to demand an MRI. I went earlier this morning and was able to bring home a copy.... but i dont see my doctor for another two weeks.

im very curious about my results! And am wondering if anyone could help me read them.

Feel free to reply or send me an email !


M cohen


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    edited 12/09/2013 - 6:46 PM
    Please take some time to read Getting Started with Spine-Health

    I do have to say that no member is permitted to provide any analysis/interpretations of diagnostic tests. No one here is really qualified to provide that information. That being said, I tell people who ask the same question as you: Ita all about the words.

    Mild Generally means that there is no nerve impingement from a disc and that your disc situation probably can be managed through exercise programs and some form of medications

    Moderate There is some level of impingement on a nerve root. Physical Therapy and other conservative methods would help. For example, Tens Unit, Ultrasound Traction, Spinal Injections, Acupuncture, etc) This condition may or may not require surgery. So much depends on the way those corrective methods help.

    Severe Nerve root is being damaged, surgery is something that probably needs to be as soon as possible.

    Maria, so without going into any details about MRI's, that pretty much sums things up. There are so many terms and wording in MRI reports, that we all can get lost trying to read one and make a lot of sense.

    The two weeks before seeing your doctor, was that a time frame/schedule that was in place prior to your surgery or one after your surgery? Most doctors would contact their patient quickly IF the MRI reports warranted surgery. On the other hand, if the MRI shows no significant situation, doctors would wait for that period of time.

    Good luck and again Welcome to Spine-Health. You will soon find out how many others there are with very similar situations. Think of these forums as an online support group. You wont find others out here that do no understand.
    It takes someone who has walked the walk and been in your shoes to understand what you are going through

    Take care

    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
  • Thank you for replying, i knew i wouldnt be able to be diagnosed, but i was interested in finding out what exactly im looking at :) My surgery was in 2005, and I didnt need to return after my 6 mo check up. I contacted the surgeon who performed my operation but he only works with children. BUMMER. I recently started seeing a spine specialist who ordered the MRI. I always schedule appointments prior to leaving, and i wasnt supposed to have the test done until next week, but they called me with an opening so I took it. im going to wait patiently and find out more when I see him.

    I appreciate all the information you have provided! Thank you
    M cohen
  • You might want to get a few opinions from different ortho surgeons. One thing I liked about mine is he specializes in complex spines and adult scoliosis. Best of luck to you and congrats on the baby!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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