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MRI results troubling to me

patrain17ppatrain17 Ottawa area, CanadaPosts: 106
edited 09/10/2015 - 4:05 PM in Spinal Stenosis
OK! I'm 43 yo and already have a history with my cervical spine. (Am now fused from occiput to c4.)
I've also always had trouble with my lower back and had an MRI done for it in late July for monitoring. It was my first lumbar spine MRI since before my surgeries 3.5 years ago. The results are not too nice and worry me. My neurosurgeon could operate on me but seems to think it won't do any good. I'm going to share my MRI results with you guys to know what you think. I am not looking for a diagnose, I have one already. Just looking for some friendly advice. I will be meeting with my family doctor later in October to discuss all this.

FINDINGS : Moderate to severe degenerative changes noted in the visualized lumbosacral spine. The spinal canal is constitutionally narrow. There is mild retrolisthesis of L4 on L5 with degenerative face OA changes seen. Minimal left convex scoliosis also noted. Normal vertebral alignment is otherwise maintainded. There is no evidence of significant spinal cord compression at any level. The conus ends at the level of L1, no abnormal signal intensity noted in the lower spinal cord. The vertebral bodies are of normal height. Prominent limbus vertebra noted at the anterosuperior corner of L3.
At L2-L3 there is moderate diffuse disc bulge and moderate to severe bilateral facet OA and ligamentum hypertrophy causing moderate spinal canal stenosis and thecal sac compression. No significant foramina narrowing noted.
At L3-L4, there is mild diffuse disc bulge and mild bilateral facet OA without any significant spinal canal stenosis. Mild bilateral foramina narrowing noted.
At L4-L5, there is mild diffuse disc bulge without any significant spinal canal stenosis. Severe left and mild right exit foraminal narrowing noted.
At L5-S1 moderate to severe bilateral facet OA changes noted. No significant spinal canal or foramina narrowing noted.
IMPRESSION : Multilevel degenerative changes as described. Severe left L4-L5 foramina narrowing noted.

Once again, I am just looking for advice and maybe shared experiences. I've been having left leg numbness and pain and have had episodes of pain going down my right leg and feeling like the signal is cut off to my leg when moving my lower back. It's not like nothing is going on.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,526
    No on one the Spine-Health patient forums is medically qualified to provide any advice or
    or recommendations on any diagnostic test. However, the following key words can always be applied.
    • MILD Treated with conservative measures such as Physical Therapy and mild medications. Many times these situations can be cleared up and the condition can be resolved.MODERATE Some more treatments may be needed, ie Spinal Injections, Ultra sound and stronger medications. Always a possibility of more aggressive treatment if the conservative measures don't helpSEVERE Need for stronger medications. The requirement for surgery may be necessary
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 646
    What did your NS say as to why he didn't think surgery would be helpful?
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  • patrain17ppatrain17 Ottawa area, CanadaPosts: 106
    He wasn't clear as to why he didn't think it would be helpful. He just said that it would probably rid me of the numbness but not the pain. He just told me to keep taking my meds and add Celebrex to the mix and walk as much as I could.

    What scares me most is what will happen down the road if nothing is done. I should be retiring in about 12 years. I would like to be able to travel a bit then and do things I like. I don't want to be stuck at home in pain and not to be able to walk.
  • patrain17ppatrain17 Ottawa area, CanadaPosts: 106
    Thanks Ron for the key words definitions. Only that tells me more about the results of my MRI.
  • Is OA osteoarthritis? If so, surgery may not be helpful with your spine as that is usually a progressive disease and there isn't much beyond removing bone spurs that can help. But I could be mistaken.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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  • patrain17ppatrain17 Ottawa area, CanadaPosts: 106
    I don't really know what OA stands for. I guess my family doctor will be able to give me more info on that.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,526
    OA = Osteoarthritis.
    That is the degenerative type of arthritis which there is really no cure for.

    Sarah was correct, right now the only way to really treat joints with severe OA is through surgery. Thats the complete shoulder/hip/knee replacements.
    Arthritis that generally effects the spine is called Ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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