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New C-Spine MRI results- I'm falling apart!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
You guys.....I just had my C-Spine MRI yesterday. I received the report and the CD film today. My last one was in 10-07......and I only had the one large herniation. I am falling apart! Why is happening to my spine? I have a followup with NS on Monday and I'd bet any money my proposed one level fusion on C6/C7 is going to turn into a 3 or 4 level fusion. I am just shocked at these results - they are horrible. They might as well just fuse my whole darn (for a lack of better words!) neck and be done with it. I am only 39 years old (on Halloween). I am really bummed out. Please tell me it's not as bad as it looks - Sandra

October 13, 2008 - C-Spine MRI without Contrast

Multisequence multiplanar imaging performed through the cervical spine without the injection by gadolinium.

Findings: The vertebral body heights, signal characteristics and alignment are within normal limits. Craniocervical junction and Para spinal soft tissues appear remarkable.

No focal signal abnormality is seen of the cervical spinal cord.

C2-C3 level shows mild diffuse disc protrusion/herniation involving the right lateral recess. This does cause slight effacement of the intrathecal sac. There is left facet degenerative changes. Findings cause mild left neuroforaminal narrowing.

C3-C4 level shows mild diffuse disc bulging and bony endplate ridging. There is mild bilateral facet degenerative changes at this level greater than left. No significant central canal or neural foraminal stenosis present.

C4-C5 level shows diffuse bulging of the disc annulus and a tiny knee central disc protrusion/herniation. There are bilateral facet degenerative changes which appear moderate on the left. Findings cause mild left neuroforaminal narrowing and there is mild central canal stenosis.

C5-C6 level shows diffuse bulging of the disc annulus. There is a tiny central disc protrusion/herniation which does efface the anterial thecal sac and cause slight widening of the cervical cord. These findings cause mild central canal stenosis and moderate left foraminal narrowing.

C6-C7 level shows diffuse bulging of the disc annulus. There is a large left lateral recess disc protrusion/herniation. This does cause effacement of thecal sac and flattening of the left side of the cervical cord. There is moderate left lateral recess stenosis. Moderate left foraminal narrowing is present and right neural foramen is patent.

C7-T1 is within normal limits.


1. Stable left lateral recess C6/C7 disk protrusion/herniation causing moderate left lateral recess stenosis with flattening of the left side of the cervical cord.
2. Tiny central disc protrusions C4-C5-C5-C6 level with mild central canal narrowing at these levels.
3. Multilevel facet degenerative changes as discussed above. There is mild neuroforaminal narrowing left C2-C3-C4-C5 level.


  • Well I'm no doc and can't even begin to diagnosis the problems. With that being said i have gone through several Mri's and CT's as well as cervical surgeries. The radiologist who write these findings write everything that is not text book spine. There are many people who go through life with herniations and never even know it as they are not symptomatic. Fusing may not have to be done at all levels sometimes they may only fuse the problematic level and may clean the other levels up with frominatomy(sp). Doing a three level fusion is a rather large surgery and the risk are higher the more levels that are added in. If it were me i would have a list of questions ready for the surgeon as well as making a appointment for a second opinion. Hope everything works out when you see the surgeon on Monday and keep us posted as to what they tell you.
  • I will surely keep you posted ;) I was kind of upset last nite (that time!) and I think my emotions got the best of me so I overrated the results. However, I do have pain down my right arm as well which I'm thinking is the cause of that one herniation on the right side. I mentioned that to my NS as well. I just don't know. To go from the 10/07 results to this in one year is kind of scary. Now, I can't wait to talk with my NS. One last question, is it kind of a given you should always get a 2nd or 3rd opinion on any kind of cervical surgery?

    Thanks for your note! I do appreciate you took the time to write back to me ;) Have a wonderful day.
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  • In my opinion i would always get a second opinion. One surgeon may suggest on thing while another may suggest something else. Then you get to make a choice and weigh the options. Then again they may both say the same thing. You might want to check your insurance as well if your going to surgery some insurance companies require it as part of the protocol.
  • At least you won't have too long a wait to see your neuro. Does seem like a rather quick progression in one year, but then, what do I know! LOL I was sent for MRI by my PCP, who gave me the results, and sent me to a neuro-surgeon. I saw this neuro, and scheduled the surgery. I had been having pain, and numbness down arm into hand. I did not go for a second opinion, as I was already expecting to hear surgery was in my future. IMHO, if you trust your neuro-surgeon, he will not recommend surgery unless it is necessary. Good luck on Monday, let us know.

  • Always keep in mind that every two Radilogist interpret films differently, using different words and even sometimes saying 'minor' when another one may say 'moderate'. I have had this happen to me many times. Your results may have been exactly the same but have just been interpeted differently-I think it is is pretty common. When you look at the doctors "impressions" it sound pretty favorable for you (in my non-medical opinion.) See what your neuro has to say. Good luck,

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  • I am also facing similar issue. Dege nerating disc diseage.

    Can any one help me on this issue?
  • you are exactly ON THE MONEY! My NS said 10/07's MRI report was exactly the same as this one - just worded differently. Amazing. It sure sounds worse than the last one LOL ;) Thanks for your note. Mysurgery is set for 11/6 one level ACDF on C6/C7 and he says we'll "let nature take its course" on the rest of the disks.

  • I had my first Cervical MRI at the end of June. My DO said she thought a surgeon looking at it would conclude I needed ACDF C3 thru C7. When I actually went to see my neursurgeon he didn't like the quality of the film as it was done on an open MRI machine.

    I had my second MRI (was supposed to be with contrast dye), yesterday. This was done on an open MRI machine with a much stronger magnet advertised to produce near as good quality as one done in a Closed MRI.

    I don't have the report on the one done yesterday yet. I see my neurosurgeon again on Nov 4th. He did have a C6 Nerve Root Block done too. That test was positive. My disc at that level is impinging on the nerve root.

    So far my Neuro is either thinking 1 level acdf C-5/C-6 or a foraminotomy (sp at that level). I learned thru all of this that the surgeons are only going to do surgery on areas producing symptoms.

    To me it is kind of annoying they will only go in and operate on a symptomatic area. I have problems C3 thru C7. So It sounds like within a few years I'll have to go thru cervical spine surgery again of some sort.

    Anyway, that is my experience. I do wish you all the best, Cindy!

    Ken GreyEagle
  • I also do agree with you. The difference between my MRI 10/07 and this MRI I think looks worse, although I am told it's not. But the fact remains, Ido have small herniations and bony spurs on those other areas. I wish he would just fix them. On the other hand, maybe it is easier going through 3 "1 level fusions" than 1 "3 level fusion" I am just not sure on that. I guess time will tell. But yes, it's annoying to me. How can they be ABSOLUTELY sure (other than looking at the MRI) that it's C6/C7? The thing that is weird, oK is that onmy 10/07 MRI it said that my C8 nerve root was being impinged. So, if my C6/C7 is shot, then it must be my C7 nerve root, right? Not C8? What if they fix the wrong area. Also, I told him my pink finger is numb but I just have pain in my middle finger.

    I'm kind of freaking out that the wrong level will be "fixed". Granted yes, I do have a large herniation on C6/C7 sitting on my spinal cord and that needs to be fixed, but what if C7/T1 needs to be fixed too and he doesn't.

  • I did the dumbest thing last year, my neck was stiff and i had someone crack it for me. Now its been a year and i am in pain from my neck to the top of my shoulder. What can i do, i have seen a neck doc. and he said it has to heal on its own and presecribed me pills to treat the pain but i am still in constant pain....i have to keep on cracking my neck to relieve the pain. IWhat should i do..?
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