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Extra Lumbar Vertebrae

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Unread 08-29-2006, 08:17 AM   #1
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Default Extra Lumbar Vertebrae

Hi All, while we were all in the dark with our communication, I had a few tests done for a hip pain I have had periodically flare up over the past couple years.

My PM Doctor was sure it was being generated by a bad L3/4 disc and facet joint and wanted to inject steroids into the nerve root area, but first he ordered a Lumbar X-Rays for some unknown reason. My Lumbar MRI film is from December, but I guess he wanted to see something else?

Anyway, the X-Ray report revealed only things we already knew from the MRI but it did make this statement:

"There are six - rather than five - non rib bearing lumbar vertebrae."

I found it curious that it took so long in life to find out I had an extra vertebrae! BUT HOLD ON!

I had an Lumbar MRI in December and nothing was mentioned of an extra one, and if there is one, what would it be called?

Well, after thinking things over, I decided to cancel my Lumbar ESI and see an Orthopedic Doctor about my hip pain. Wouldn't you know it, I forgot to ask him about the extra vertebrae! He looked at the X-Ray film of my Lumbar and the old MRI and ordered a new Lumbar MRI along with a Pelvic MRI.

When I was getting these MRI's, I mentioned to the technician that last month I had X-Rays of the Lumbar and that Dr XXXXX who read the film said I have six, not five lumbar vertebrae. She read the reports from her file and said, hmmmmmmmn. So, I expected a note in my new Lumbar report to mention this. NOT!

As a matter of fact, my Pelvic MRI was normal, and my Lumbar MRI still showed a herniated disc, ddd, but no mention of an extra vertebrae. The report mentioned L1-L5 and S1, but nothing on an extra one!

Since my Orthopedic Doctor saw nothing wrong with my Pelvic area, his office called and cancelled my next appointment and suggested I see my NS instead. So I never got to talk to him about the MRI's and X-Rays.

I am scheduled in two weeks to see a new NS and I will without a doubt bring up the X-Ray report stating the extra vertebrae.

Here is the kicker to all of this. It has been the same Doctor at the Imaging Center reading my films for all of these reports!

I highly suspect I do not have an "extra" lumbar vertebrae and that it is a mistake on the X-Ray report, but until I see the NS and have his opinion, I do not know.

It kind of makes you wonder on the accuracy of these reports sometimes, but if I do not have an extra or if I do, I surely would like to know.

Let's see now, I have a herniation at L3/4 or is it at L4/5 or what!

I do have a photo or two I could post if anybody can make sense out of it, too hard for me to tell what is a lumbar and what is thoracic disc!

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Unread 08-29-2006, 08:54 AM   #2
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Hi Jyes!!!

If they didn't mention it on your report as an extra lumbar vertebrae, then it could be that you are one set of ribs short in your thoracic area - instead of having an actual extra lumbar vertebrae.

This is the case with me, I have what appears to be 6 lumbar, however, I only have 5 and am missing the last set of ribs. It's a good thing too, because I'm short bodied and if I had that last set of ribs they would have been hitting against my hip bones.

Next time you see your doctor take your films with you... post a note on your film jacket (so you don't forget) and ask your doctor for his/her opinion.

What type of hip pain/pelvic pain are you having?

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Unread 08-29-2006, 09:24 AM   #3
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Kathe Thanks for the reply, I most certainly will have all my recent film with me when I get evaluated by my new NS!

I was thinking the same thing about the rib thing, but hopefully this will be explained to me on Sept 12th!

My hip pain has been mildly chronic for years but in the past two years I have had three "attacks" where the pain would come out of nowhere and dibilitate me for one to two weeks and then it would go back to just a dull ache and somewhat sensitive to touch.

The area is really the upper right rear pelvic area. I did a lot of research and thought it was iliac crest syndrone but evidently my Orhopedic Doctor must agree with my PM Doc that it is Lumbar related.

I have had one symptom though that no one has addressed or should I say dx'd it and that is that my right upper pelvic area makes a nice popping noise if lying down on that side. The popping noise is very similar to the noise I had in my right shoulder which was a big bone spur causing that I guess with a ligament or tendon rubbing over it. That was taken care of with surgery.

So, I still have the popping noise near the point of the upper part of the pelvis, I still have pain in the same area but more on the back upper portion at my belt line.

I mentioned earlier that my PM thinks the pain is referred from a nerve branch having issues in L3/4 or L4/5 and he wanted to inject steroids into those nerve branches and for the moment I said no.

All of this is secondary to my cervical issues which I will make an updated post about later........

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