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My husbands Radiology Report....

HLH0388HHLH0388 Posts: 2
edited 09/14/2014 - 3:10 PM in Chronic Pain
Hi, my husband had an MRI after having x-rays because he's had lower back pain for years. He's a disabled Veteran and I believe the VA is not doing what they should... The doctor has prescribed him a mild pain reliever and is only giving him a month supply at a time with no refills. Last time we saw her she said, "See you in 3 months"... So what is he supposed to do in the 2 months without pain relievers? Anyways, this is what we've gotten for his results. The doctor said he has mild arthritis and it's so mild that her and I probably had it. NO.


PROCEDURE: Using the 1.5 Tesla Siemens Espree MRI scanner, following sequences of the lumbar spine without and with intravenous gadolinium (10 cc Omniscan): Sagittal T1, sagittal stir, sagittal T2; axial T1 pre-and postcontrast, axial T2.



There is a 1.4 cm nonenhancing high T1 signal intensity lesion in L4 vertebral body representing an intravertebral lipoma. There is also an enhancing 1.3 cm high T2 signal lesion in T12 vertebral body which cannot be well characterized on this MRI lumbar spine could representing intravertebral hemangioma. The rest of the vertebral bodies demonstrate normal morphology and signal characteristics. There is mild degenerative changes with disc desiccation at L4-5 and L5-S1. The rest of the interertebral discs are unremarkable. The conus demonstrates normal morphology and signal characteristics.

L5-S1: 4 mm broad-based posterior disc buldge. No evidence of central canal or neural formania narrowing.

Remaining other lumbar spine disc levels unremarkable.

There is a 1.7 cm cyst in the lower right kidney


Mild degenerative disc disease with disc desiccation involving L4-5 and L5-S1.

No evidence of central canal or neural foramina narrowing.

1.4 cm intravertebral lipoma involving L4 vertebral body.

1.3 cm enhancing high T2 signal intensity lesion in T12 vertebral body which cannot be well characterized on this MRI lumbar spine could be an intravertebral hemangioma.

Primary Diagnostic Code: MINOR ABNORMALITY

Now, to me, this doesn't seem like a minor abnormality in a 27 year old man.... Please tell me if you have any experience with this kind of finding in your MRI... I have typed this up as I see it on the report word for word. Thank you in advance!


  • No one is allowed or qualified to go over the MRI report. That information needs to come from his physician.
    However, that being said, MRI reports are full of words that while they sound impressive and scary, really are considered normal findings or the medical terminology makes them sound far more serious than they are. If you look in our FAQ area, there is a glossary of terms commonly used on Spine Health that may help you to understand the terms you are reading.
    Anyone over the age of 21-25 is going to have a finding of what is called Degenerative Disc Disease. It is not a disease at all, which means a biologic process in the body. Discs do not have their own hydration system, so over decades, the discs loose tiny amounts of their hydration, and dry out a bit. Some occupations can make this condition more advanced than in others, but each decade as we get older, the discs may loose some tiny amounts of their hydration.
    Think of a jelly doughnut.....you have the sticky jelly in the center of the doughnut, surrounded by the crust of the actual donut. If you leave the donut on the counter, over the coming days and weeks, the outer crust is going to harden, and eventually crack or decay a bit..the jelly on the inside of the donut is also going to form a bit of a hardening.....discs are similar in that the discal fluid contained within the disc will shrink a bit, resulting on some loss of height over decades. Unless there is some basis for concern that there is nerve impingement or contact with other structures, most of the cases of DDD are considered normal finding. The terms mild, moderate and severe are most indicative of problems with DDD....
    A disc bulge is simply a disc that is sitting outside it's normal margin between the vertebra. This can be simply due to position or muscle spasm. Unless there is contact with a nerve root , generally speaking most people will also have a bulge described on MRI.
    If you feel that the doctor is disregarding your husband, you can always seek the opinion of other doctors.
    As far as medications go, scheduled medications can only be prescribed a month at a time. Perhaps some physical therapy might be helpful in his being able to strengthen the muscles and stretching those surrounding his spine and ease some of his pain.


  • First dont panic. If your husband runs out of meds at the end of the month simply call the doctor and ask for a refill. Federal Law and some state laws require to call in for refills on Narcotics. The MRI is not that bad age is only 1 of many factors to consider- did he play sports, weight, type of work, family history ect. If your not happy with this doctor go see another. I had my first back surgery at 27. Your husband needs to learn the basics about back health and if he follows the guide lines should be OK.
  • All of us have to collect a paper, written prescription every month for narcotics. It's now against the law to have refills. Your husband should be able to drop-in & collect his prescription a few days (or the day, depending on his doc) before its due. My doc will allow a family member to collect mine for me, I'd make sure this is ok, don't plan on it.
    I've heard a lot of people complain about the VA. Do you have other insurance? Any chance of a second opinion? It sounds like your husband is experiencing a lot more pain than is explained by this MRI. You haven't really explained the type of pain he's having. Have they looked at his SI joint? That won't show on his MRI & causes some of my pain, it can be crippling. I think he needs some more diagnostic tests & examinations to identify his pain generators.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Thank you, I had no idea they only prescribe one month at a time. When his doctor said, "see you in 3 months", we figured she was giving him a 3 month supply..

    His pain varies, it can be dull, achy, sharp, and everything in between. I feel like it isn't just one thing causing his pain. He was in the military for 6 years. I had horses, recently gave them up, and when I would get hay he couldn't help me. It was beyond frustrating for him to watch his wife load 10 bales of hay and stack it without being able to help. It made him feel like he wasn't a man. That is what we've expressed to the doctor and she wrote it off as if it was nothing... She said, "his arthritis is so mild that you and I probably have it"... That made him feel like crap. She's a resident, and young. I'm 26.. So with her saying that it made him feel as if she doesn't believe that he's actually in pain...
  • out......and let them know he needs a refill. Most offices want the patient to give them at least a weeks' notice for refills. That way, he is not left without his medications during the wait for the prescription to be processed.
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