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Help reading MRI report

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Unread 02-16-2009, 10:42 PM   #1
cboyer257
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Default Help reading MRI report

I had an MRI on my lower back last week and received the report. It is Greek/Latin to me and I do not see my doctor until Friday. If any of you could help me decifer this I would greatly appreciate it. Here are the findings:

L5-S1 disc has dimished signal and height indicating degenerative disc disease is present at this level. There is facet osteoarthropathy bilaterally. There are bilateral par interarticularis defects with grade 1 spondylolisthesis which is present with the patieint recumbernt in the MRI scanner. There is hypertrophic degenerative bone tissue arising from the isthmic defects bilaterally. There is an uncovering of the posterior margin of the intervertebral disc plus diffuse bulging which narrows both nerve root foramina. In the center of the posterior margin of the disc, however, there is a minimally elevated prtrusion that has an irregular high-intensity zone in its posterior margin indicating the prescense of subligamentous annular fissure. This protusion does not touch or compress the thecal sac or nerve roots and does not cause any central stenosis. The lateral margins of the disc bulge, however, do narrow the nerve root foramina bilaterally.


Could someone break this down in to English for me.

Thank you!!
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Unread 02-17-2009, 03:43 PM   #2
(Broken Wings)
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Originally Posted by cboyer257 View Post
I had an MRI on my lower back last week and received the report. It is Greek/Latin to me and I do not see my doctor until Friday. If any of you could help me decifer this I would greatly appreciate it. Here are the findings:

L5-S1 disc has dimished signal and height indicating degenerative disc disease is present at this level. There is facet osteoarthropathy bilaterally. There are bilateral par interarticularis defects with grade 1 spondylolisthesis which is present with the patieint recumbernt in the MRI scanner. There is hypertrophic degenerative bone tissue arising from the isthmic defects bilaterally. There is an uncovering of the posterior margin of the intervertebral disc plus diffuse bulging which narrows both nerve root foramina. In the center of the posterior margin of the disc, however, there is a minimally elevated prtrusion that has an irregular high-intensity zone in its posterior margin indicating the prescense of subligamentous annular fissure. This protusion does not touch or compress the thecal sac or nerve roots and does not cause any central stenosis. The lateral margins of the disc bulge, however, do narrow the nerve root foramina bilaterally.


Could someone break this down in to English for me.

Thank you!!


I'll try. not a doctor...

a radiologist describes in very descriptive terms what he's seeing on the films, the shape, position, size, condition, etc...

L5-S1 = the "disc" between your lumbar 5 vertebra and sacral 1 vertebra -- (Lumbar spine = low back) (sacral spine is your tailbone) The "disc" is part of your spinal column too. Its the spongy cushion between your vertebrae... shock absorbers for your nerves, nerve roots and things. Vertebra are the bony part of your spinal column. your spinal column articulates/moves in all directions. You've seen a skeleton's bones. well the discs are in between those bones... like bone, disc, bone, disc... or bone, cushion, bone, cushion.... all the way down your spine.

signal and height = drying and shrinking of the discs due to aging, overworked back, injury, or genetics, smoking, caffeine, etc... ( in this case the radiologist says degenerative disc disease or DDD or arthritic changes)

recumbent - lying down

Facet O = more aging type stuff

bilaterally = both sides of the vertebrae/bone

Grade 1 Spond -- ask doc -- can be kind of confusing in its interpretation, treatment and Dx ranging from doctor to doctor -- but could be positioning during scan also.

hypertrophic changes = more aging/DDD/arthritis

there is an uncovering .... = describing your disc and bulge

posterior = is in the back of the disc, or behind

"narrows" is bad and can cause a lot of pain and discomfort with that finding on the nerve root foramina

foramina = a small opening already -- then you have "narrows" too. ouch!!!

Protrusion = worse stage of a disc problem. worse than bulge.

"Bulge" like a knot on a tire.

"Protrusion" like a jelly doughnut with a hole in it and the jelly can squish out... microscopically of course. --- causes shrinkage too and other things

"Protrusion does not touch" -- great for you.

"fissure" = opening too, that's not supposed to be there

"Canal stenosis" = would be like "narrows" -- it's great for you, that you don't have "canal stenosis," but still a protrusion... like the jelly doughnut scenario.

radiologist is just contrasting bulge "disc bulge, however, DO narrow" -- with the protrusion that DOES NOT have "canal stenosis."

hope that helps some.

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Unread 02-17-2009, 07:27 PM   #3
cboyer257
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Thank you for the information. It stinks getting this report and having to wait a week to figure out what is or could be causing pain. I really appreciate your quick response.
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