I am hoping that somebody can explain my MRI report findings in layman's terms. My neurosurgeon did a good job thoroughly covering everything, but to be honest with you, I was so shocked by the news that I don't seem to have retained much. Also, internet searches lead to more words I don't understand.
If you don't mind, I could use a little help.
A little background in case it's needed: Have had a herniated disc at L5/S1 for over 14 years. Previous MRI exactly 2 years ago showed a 5mm bulge at L4/L5 and a 2mm bulge at L5/S1. Went to ER in March 2011 because I woke up and could not move due to excruciating pain in my right sciatic nerve and had debilitating right leg weakness and numbness. I have been on 100mg Morphine 2x per day for 3 years. ER docs told me to file for SSDI because they couldn't believe I was still working a 40 hour week and still able to walk, even with my cane. They did a CAT scan which showed a 17mm herniation with a 3" bone spur extending into the spinal canal and causing complete compression of the spinal cord. Follow up visit 14 days later with regular doctor and he ordered a repeat MRI to see the progression from 2 years ago.
At work I cut back to 3 hours per day, 4 days per week and it has helped some, but I am on a 20 on- 20 off regimen of steroids along with muscle relaxers 3x per day just to keep on the job. I think it's time to give up and file, but I would like to understand my condition a little better before I do.
The new report in March 2011 showed normal findings for lumber L1/L2, L2/L3, L3/L4, and I will write verbatim the findings for L4/L5 and L5/S1:
L4/L5: There is disc space narrowing, disc dessication, and a 2mm broad based disc bulge not creating significant central or lateral foraminal stenosis.
L5/S1: There is disc space narrowing, disc dessication and an 18mm disc herniation evident. This is extending cephalad to the mid-portion of the L5 vertebral body. It is exerting significant mass effect on the thecal sac as well as the exiting bilateral nerve roots.
I think I understand about L4/L5: not a problem and not causing any problems yet.
L5/S1, though, I don't know which direction cephalad is nor what a thecal sac or mass effect is.
Can anyone help explain this to me a little clearer?
Thank you so much and God Bless!