MRI results help?

Just received my MRI results, have not seen the dr yet. I'm in so much pain and have no idea what this report says. Any help with it would be appreciated. I was told to wait to make any appointments until my regular doctor could read the results, but she can sometimes take up to two weeks to get to things. It took two months to get the MRI because of Doctor/insurance miscommunications. Thank you in advance!!

C2-C3 - 1 mm of anterolisthesis, advanced degenerative change at the left facet,

C3-C4 - greater than 3 mm of anterolisthesis, severe hypertrophic degenerative change at left facet, diffuse narrowing of the foramen, overall mild, appears patently inferiorly, more narrowed superiorly.

C4-C5 - broad-based disc/osteophyte slightly greater to the right of midline. Narrowing of the right lateral recess an foramen mild. Osteophyte involving uncovertebral joint. Mild reversal of lordosis.

C5-C6 - broad-based disc/osteophyte. Far paracentral and lateral osteophytes in the region of unconvertebral joints. Mild narrowing of the right foramen.

L4-L5 - level is desiccated and narrow. Disc bulge is seen. Facet ligament overgrowth results in a trefoil appearance the thecal sac and mild narrowing of the canal. The AP thecal sac is estimated at 7-8 mm. Some narrowing of the lateral recess noted bilaterally. Moderate narrowing of the foramen bilaterally.

L5-S1 - level is desiccated. A right posterior lateral disc bulge and posterior lateral disc protrusion is seen which effaces the right lateral recess. Abuts and may be compromising the descending right S1 nerve root. Facet overgrowth is seen the changes result in mild left, mild to moderate right bony foraminal stenosis on the right. No canal stenosis is seen.

13 Replies

  • I recently had two mri scans. One at the base of my spine and the other at the top. I have not seem a copy of the results, but have been told the top and base of spine results show that the same discs are affected. I am on pain killers and have an appointment to attend the pain clinic. The main cause appears to be degenerative. The pain has been really bad, but is controlled by meds at the moment. I appreciate how you feel.

    I am not sure of the way forward, but don't want an operation.

  • I hope the pain clinic is helpful! I don't want an operation either - but I do want relief!

  • MRI results always look scary as they pick up every tiny thing and the medical wording makes it seem even worse. There is usually an overview at the end of the report where the Consultant Radiographer draws it all together? How did you get these results without some one there to interpret them for you? I think that's poor.

  • Sorry, if I did not make it clear that I did have the results of the scans explained to me. but mostly explaining which discs were involved and why I was getting such severe pain. In retrospect, there were questions I should have asked, but didn't think of at the time. I am going on holiday in June and unless I can get some pain relief, doubt that I could make the journey. I have had my tablets changed with some success, but the 'alcohol' ban will be hard to adhere to while we are on holiday. I do like a glass of wine with my meal!!

  • Hi inpain247

    I had that done to me also,I received the report but no translation of what it all meant till I went back to the doctor.I kept chasing the secretary to get the appointment moved forward as soon as possible. I suggest to keep chasing the the doctor for a date at the earliest opportunity.

  • the C ones are to do with the cervical vertabra which are in the neck area whilst the L ones are to do with the lumbar spine ie the lower back. As to what they are exactly saying i agree with those above and await the medics interpretation

  • Yes, C means cervical spine (neck), L is lumbar spine (lower back) and S is sacrum (the "tail bone"). The numbers correspond to each individual vertebra, starting at the top of your neck with C1. I think there are 8 C vertebra in total. If you google a picture of the spine on the internet you will probably find one labelled like this.

    I would definitely hold on to see your usual doctor. What you perhaps want to know is what from the report is really important and what is causing my pain, and what are they planning to do about it!

  • Bear in mind that if you did an MRI on someone who wasn't complaining of back pain, their MRI could easily show things that might be described in a way that sounds like a lot is going on. What shows up on MRI doesn't necessarily relate to any pain or disability,and most people (even quite young people) will show some signs of degeneration. So you don't really have any way of knowing which bits of that report are actually significant until you see your doctor, and they relate it to the symptoms you are having. Teadrinkers questions are good: ask what is important on the MRI, what is causing your pain, and what can they do about it.

  • Thank you all. Both the doctor and neurosurgeon's offices called today. I have an appointment May 20th with the neurosurgeon - their first available, although they offered to let me know if there was a cancellation before then. I was also asked to get the actual films from the imaging center since the hospital won't accept the image disc when surgery is involved. Clearly there are some conversations that need to take place.

    Calceolaria - I received the results by asking for them. I had to reschedule an appointment once because my films were mixed up with someone else's and sent to a different doctor. I've taken results from any tests possible with me to appointments ever since. I've just never had any that sounded so messed up.

  • Apologies In pain I'm guessing now you are not in the UK? I also have copies of my scans and x rays on disc because whenever I went to see a Consultant privately, he never got my scans in time from my GP. Earthwitch is correct, messed up sounding scans don't always mean there is a reason for pain. People with worse scans than mine could be pain-free and with better readings, could be unable to stand. Its one of those things. As you are seeing a neurosurgeon however, someone has decided you might need a procedure ?

  • Thank you. No apologies necessary. I'm in the U.S. I'm guessing they've decided I need something. I won't know for sure until my appointment on the 20th. The waiting is so hard! I don't want surgery, but I am at the point now that it is something I would actually consider. I wouldn't have even 6 months ago. The timing couldn't be worse as I've booked plane tickets for late June to visit my daughter in Hawaii. Haven't seen her in 9 months (a lifetime for us) and I'm praying I'll still be able to make the trip.

  • Hi inpain247... your lucky you've had full scan of back...I've had 5 lower ones over years.. mine L discs all are same has yours..I've 3 level d desese.. waiting after years for my upper half scanned..just turned down a operation for s1 nerve..exploded.. ( which causes sciatica pain bad pain), was told bad arthritas too..but never put in letter to my gp. looks like your lucky had it all down on letter.. I've had a op before they said I've a back of a 65 year old.38 now.5 year later..sounds like you have arthritis changes in your spine..and bone growth.. which there checking my upper half will not touch me..said my spine in a s shape..thinks I've a s.?? Been very I'll....hope you have a good spine doc.. and good family doc..mines no help ..c so are upper spine..hope your not suffering to much..I knew something a disc excursion is VERY painfullxx

  • I'm so sorry you've been suffering so much. Neck/back pain is the worst, literally has an impact on everything we do in life. Having this much pain actually makes it hard to have much of a life. I must work, spending 10 hours a day typing, doing desk work and running from building to building, plus driving an hour each way, by the time I get home I'm ready to come out of my skin. Weekends are spent recovering so I can turn around and do it all again. Hoping we both get some relief soon!

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