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Disabled Vet needs help readin MRI

USMC_JoelUUSMC_Joel Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:02 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I've been putting off surgery for nearly two years now and have been diligent with more conservative treatment, but my last MRI scares me a bit. Any help interpreting this would help. Do I need to have surgery? If so, what kind and what are the recoveries like? Thanks for any help. 13 years in the Marine Corps did a number on my body. Did I mention that I'm only 32!

C3-4: broad-based central annular protrusion abutting the thecal sac with 9.9 mm midline canal caliber.

C4-5: focal midline annular protrusion abutting the ventral surface of the thecal sac with mild cord flattening without cord signal. Segmental stenosis of 8.6 gradient. There is segmental canal stenosis of 8.6 mm at this level. Canal caliber 9.2mm.

C5-6: broad based annular protrusion across midline with ventral surface cord flattening ...normal cord signal. Canal caliber raised 8.1mmat this level. No foramina are patent. Canal caliber at Pericles level c6 is 9.1mm.

C6-7: asymmetrical large left-sided disc osteophyte complex compressing the spinal cord centrally and to the left of midline, with left neural foraminal stenosis of1.9mm in midline, canal stenosis of 7.1mm. There is a slight increasing signal of the spinal cord substance at this level of concern for compressive myelopathy to be correlated with clinical symptoms. Canal caliber at the pedicle c7 is 9.5mm.

C7-t1: spinal canal measures 9.1mm.

Impressions: underlying congenital spinal stenosis with narrow caliber of spinal canal at pedicle levels c3 through c7. Annular protrusions at c3-4 through c6-7, with steno tic lesion at c6-7 with a high likelihood of clinical significance.

Thanks for any feedback.
Semper Fi.


  • Hello and welcome to Spine Health.
    I am sorry to tell you this but we are not allowed to post anything about MrI's or ask anyone to attempt to "read" MRI's. None of us are Doctors and MRI's are mumbo jumbo to us too.

    Please go to the bottom of the page that lists all the forums to "Announcements" and click on "All Members-Please read, espially new Members" posted by dilaura our "System Administrator"(BTW-a really great guy)and it will explain why we do not post anything about our MRI's.

    I do not mean to offend but this is something you need to ask your Doctor about. None of us "read" MRI's and I would not want to attempt a guess.

    I do see you are new here so I understand why you have not learned all our rules yet.

    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • Hi Joel,

    Welcome! This is a great place for support. I am not a doctor or a radiologist but I have had many MRI's that sounded similarly scaring. What the doctor told me is that there could be damage found on MRI which isn't the source of the problem. The doctor will look at the MRI in conjunction with what symptoms you are reporting to decide a course of action. I would go over it with the doctor at your next visit. Ask him to explain it. That is what they get the $$ for.


    PS Thank you for your service.

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  • I'm no doctor, and I can't read an MRI worth a damned.

    What I can say is thank you for your service.
  • First let me say thank you for your service to the country. As far as your MRI, findings well I am know doctor, and I don't play one on TV. However I do know a little about neck issues. What is just as important as the MRI findings is the clinical findings on exam. Your doctor will take both and make a diagnoses from there. Things you can do to help yourself along. One I assume they are ordering a MRI for a reason? First you can begin to learn about the spine and how it works by looking in the video section. Next I would make a list of symptoms and be sure your doctor understands all of your symptoms. I would also be sure you are being seen by a spine specialist. Whatever they say needs to be done or not done I would get a second opinion. You can set a second opinion now as you wait to get the results of this MRI from your medical professional. The last thing I would do is make two list of questions, one as if someone told you that you needed surgery and one as if someone told you that you didn't need surgery. I tell you to make the list now, as we all know we don't get to much time with a doctor when we see them, so be prepared at your appointment. You can click on the FAQ section at the top of the page where you find two links. One is preparing to meet with a spine surgeon and the other is 38 question to ask a spine surgeon. The list will help you formulate your questions.

    Once you get the results of your MRI by a medical professional, no matter what they tell you, I am sure someone here has been through the diagnoses they are giving you. The boards are very versed with experience so lots of members to answer questions. But please do tell us what the results are once you see the ordering doctor.

    Once again thanks for your service to the country, and welcome to spine-health. If I can be of any assistance to you in the future don't hesitate to pm me. Take care and keep us posted on how you get along.
  • I did 6.5 years in the Army as a artilleryman, I swear it has to be the kevlar helmets we wore, I'm 36, and my MRI looks a lot like yours, severe bilateral foriminal stenosis c-6/7,spinal cord flattening centrally with stenosis plus alot of other words that basically say I have one good joint in my neck, the pain starts in my back goes down my arm then gives me migraines that are out of the inquisition,Severity in my arm and back varies from pins and needles to 220v electric shocks,nausea dizziness and of course depression. If they offered me surgery at this point I'd hand them the scalpel and knock myself out, since I've dealt with it for almost 7 years and it has only gotten worse, at one point I had heart palpitations from being on pain meds for so long. So if they offer you surgery, my advice Vet to Vet and as someone who feels your pain literally, is jump at it.
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  • Joel, I'm sorry to hear you are having so much trouble. We here on spine health are not doctors nor can we give you any feedback from MRIs. We are just a bunch of great people who can symphatize with you and let you know you are not alone. We can give you are stories and experiences, but it is ONLY you and your dr. that can make any decisions. I wish I could give you some advise, but I just want to let you know that we can be a shoulder to lean on and support while you are going through this. Thanks so much for your time in the Corps. I too spent 6 yeaars in the Marine Corps as a machine gunner. You are my brother and pm me anytime if you need to talk. Otherwise, this site has Many many awesome people who will listen and give you support. Semper Fi, Kevin
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