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Question regarding age of scans

While looking through my medical records with my PCP, it was noted in my 2005 and 2006 MRI that I had both a hemangioma and a few notable schmorl's nodes around L3-L4, stenosis at L4-L5, and a herniated disc at L4-L5. My most recent MRI, performed July 2015, notes only herniated discs at L4-L5 and L5-S1 with annular tearing. During my recent discogram, L3-L4 tested positive for pain and was deemed a bad disc as well.

My question is how reliable are scans that are almost 10 years old? Would the findings in them still be significant today, with the current radiologist possibly overlooking something? I plan to take my old scans and reports to my surgeon to get his thoughts on it, even though I was told by his PA that the findings are too old and insignificant.


  • It might go without saying, but it's up to the individual radiologist to decide how much information to put in their report. I've had detailed MRI's (which are the kind I prefer), and I've had MRI's where the radiologist was only interested in reporting on findings he/she found to be significant.
  • halfofmyhearthhalfofmyheart Posts: 1
    edited 09/18/2015 - 8:12 PM
    I've had many many MRIS for a 29 year old and they have differed here and there even with a disk that was herniated to is miraculously healing, levoscoliosis that has come and gone lol... what I've been doing for the last few years I sticking with the same MRI place., so then if you run into a problem you can ask the medical records team to get in touch with the doctors who are then responsible , by law, to answer your question. Good luck xo

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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    ....images to compare to what is happening currently.

    My Primary Doctor tried to work with me about two years before referred me to spine specialist for my limitations and chronic pain.
    My PM/neurologist looks at the scans himself, not depending on written impressions.
    That may be for the reasons stated by Bman above.

    My PM will comment, with frustration at times, on how ...something was overlooked, impression contradicts itself...variety of comments as he is seemingly talking to himself out loud while watching CD.....and then he dictates same for my record..chart.

    Has your PCP reviewed the CDs, also? Or relying on written impressions? Have you seen specialist?

    I was only referred to surgeon one time. He seemed focused on my PM summary of my condition and testing.
    He had me come in early for one test that he ordered to be done before my appointment with him..surgeon.
    When it comes to surgeon deciding if surgery necessary, I can understand that most current images of present situation are most valuable.

    Then when surgeon met with me, he explained he could not help my situation with surgery. When I started to ask questions, he referred me back to discuss with my doctor and repeated...surgery will not help you.

    So, my experience was for surgeon, once his evaluation completed and he determined he was not needed for surgery...he did his job and that was that. He wasn't there to answer my concerns. And I totally understand that.

    My next appointment with PM, he further explained the ...why nots.

    I'd be interested to know if surgeon gives you his thoughts on your older scans and reports.
    Please keep us posted!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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