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MRI Results Help

geoff09ggeoff09 Posts: 7
edited 10/03/2014 - 3:49 AM in Chronic Pain
Just received my MRI and need to wait 2 weeks for my follow up appointment. Can anyone help me read the results and let me know how serious my condition is??? FYI 28 year old male

L1/2 Normal
L2/3 Normal
L3/4 Essentially normal

L4/5 Mild diffuse annular bulge. mild flattening out of the ventral thecal sac although no spinal stenosis. the bulging disk closely approached both L5 nerve roots.

L5-S1 There is a large left paracentral disk herniation with significant mass effect on the ventral and ventrolateral thecal sac. there is superior disk extrusion up to the superior L5 Level, the extruded disk material measuring at least 22 mm craniocaudal by 10mm AP by 11mm transverse. There is displacement of multiple adjacent nerve roots including the left S1 and S2 nerve roots. There is acquired spinal stenosis and there is left lateral recess stenosis. small endplate spurs are present. There is mild bilateral nueral foramen narrowing.

Large left paracentral L5-S1 disk herniation with superior extrusion and with significant mass effect on the thecal sac as described above.

Mild L4-5 degenerative disk disease

Straightening of lumbar lordosis.

Can someone help explain this to me please as I would like to know before my appointment in two weeks. Essentially am I looking at surgery???

Moderator comments
No one is permitted to ask for or to provide information on your medical reports. That information must come from your medical doctor. 5.13 You agree not to ask for any analysis or interpretation of diagnostic tests (ie MRI, CTScans, EMG, etc.),
5.14 You agree not to respond to any request for analysis of diagnostic tests (ie MRI, CTScans, EMG, etc.)



  • Sorry about that.
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  • Who ordered your MRI for you? Is the appointment with your GP or a board certified surgeon? Your diagnosis & treatment plan will be based on a lot more than just the MRI findings. As a rule 'normal & mild' aren't a concern but 'advanced & significant' need action. In most situations they will try concervative treatments first. Do you have numbness? Any issues with bowel control or pain/numbness 'down there' should be reported to your specialists as soon as possible.
    Your specialist should examine you & discuss your pain. It could be worth starting a 'pain diary', what makes it worse/better etc. how far you can walk, if pain is better resting, laying, sitting. Does ice/heat help? Make notes of the questions you need answered. My pain rockets during appointments so I often forget things. If surgery is suggested I ask questions like "What will happen if I delay surgery?". I would always seek a 2nd or 3rd opinion on surgery. They should probably require more diagnostic tests to make sure that your pain generator has accurately been identified before surgery.

    I know it's incredibly frustrating waiting. Have you tried pulling your appointment forward? I know what it's like to be scared & want answers now but no-one, other than a spine specialist can give you the answers you need. Your MRI is just a diagnostic tool, just a part of the puzzle. There are many 'tricks' discussed here to help manage your pain while your waiting.

    Good Luck! ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Thanks for responding as a matter of fact I believe I do have a bowel issue, Mostly loose stool. What causes bowel issues with back injuries?? Ill make sure I mention something to the specialist. Although it could just be my terrible diet lol.
  • Are you also having changes to your ability to empty or start and stop your urine stream? Getting up multiple times with urgency only to find that you aren't going nearly as much as you feel like you have to go?
    Some of the lumbar spinal nerves innervate organs in your pelvic area- bladder, genitals, anus, colon, etc.......if there is significant compression of the thecal sac or specific nerve roots, those areas can be effected. Does the toilet paper feel different than before? Are you able to hold it until you can get to the bathroom or do you feel like you need to find the bathroom yesterday? Do you have numbness, tingling or other nerve pain in the inner thighs, genital areas?
    If you do, then you need to contact your surgeon sooner, rather than later.

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  • geoff09ggeoff09 Posts: 7
    edited 10/07/2014 - 5:47 AM
    Sandi thanks for that Info.. I strongly believe based on my Bowel movements that I may be expieriencing this syndrome. I will be sure to ask m y doctor about it thanks..
  • Things seem to be getting worse and worse not looking forward to this follow up appointment. Funny thing is I complained years ago about back issues and they always wrote it off as me needing to stretch more ect. I knew it was much worse and my first xray was in 2011 on the back. They refused me an MRI and here I am today with multiple issues 3 years later.
  • If you believe or suspect that it might be Cauda Equina Syndrome, you need to call your doctors office TODAY.
    Damage to the cauda equina can become permanent very quickly. Nerves contained within the thecal sac are very, very sensitive and the longer you wait to see your doctor, the higher the risk to the nerves .
  • Geoff. Have you telephoned your specialist to see you sooner? He needs to know your symptoms. He needs to know your MRI lists "Large left paracentral L5-S1 disk herniation with superior extrusion and with significant mass effect on the thecal sac". I'm basically just repeating Sandi's advise & nagging you (I'm a wife!). The doctors guidelines in England state that a patient presenting like you should be seen by a surgeon within a week. The sooner the better. We don't want to terrify you but we do want to scare you enough to get your wiggle on!! It's ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry with this sort of thing.
    It sucks that it's taken you this long to get any action. Please don't have another bad story to tell.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • geoff09ggeoff09 Posts: 7
    edited 10/07/2014 - 7:08 PM
    Thanks for the advice I am off tomorrow and will call and mention this. As you probably know English girl our health system is not the greatest and they tend to make us wait until an opening. This has been a very long on going situation so I've probably caused numerous issues due to the lack of people telling me nothing is wrong... I'm in the Philadelphia area so i'm going to call the EDIT for a second option.. With my job sometimes encoring physical instances I am very concerned that I will not be able to work for a long period of time or need to leave the position entirely. Thanks for the support I will keep you guys up to date with progress. Another thing I have a script for Rehab but have put it off until I see the Doc again Should I start this before??

    Post edited to remove name of specific medical facility. The moderator team
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