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Answers to my MRI result

ElaineSEElaineS Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I would really appreciate if someone could explain my latest MRI result, none of the health professionals I have seen has taken the time to really go over my MRI, in the UK you don't normally get results and its like for them to know and for us as patients get told the basics of whatever is wrong. I learnt a long while ago to ask for copies of things but when its way over the top of my head in understanding and the Neuro or my GP only tell me a. You have Military neck, pain management and Physio will help it or b. You have wear and tear. Both those explanations really anger me when this problem has dictated my life for 10 years and reduced me to hal the person I used to be and if its that simple then why hasn't this all been recognised sooner and treated if its that simple eh. Anyway, thanks for listening and hopefully you can help me. MRI result:
HISTORY; pain and paraethesia since 2001 - MRI 28.6.06 - mild retrolisthesis with canal stenosis at C5/6. Impingement of cord. Symptoms persist. Pt feels have got gradually worse over past 2 years. No weakness. Reflexes present - asymmetrical.
MRI CERVICAL SPINE: T1 and T2 sagittal images with gradient echo axial images from the mid C4 level to upper border of T2.
There is reversal of the normal cervical lordosis. As on the previous scan, there is a minimal retrolisthesis at the C5/6 level. There is now very minor retrolisthesis at the C6/7 level. This is associated with elevation of the posterior longitudinal ligament. The degree of thickening of the longitudinal ligament at this level and the levels above is significantly more than on the previous examination.

C4/5 Level: There is a very focal disc/osteophytic protrsuion which touches and indents the cord. Centrally there is more cord compression and the cord only measures 4.0mm in AP diameter. The neural foraminae are adeqaute.
C5/6 Level: This is the level of retrolisthesis. The AP diameter of the spinal canal is narrowed to 6.0mm and there is little in the way of CSF around the cord. The AP diameter of the canal has reduced 9.0 to 7.0mm. Both neural foraminae are severely narrowed probably a little more than on the previous examination.
C6/7 Level: There is again a very focal central disc/osteophytic protrusion compressing the cord. Simialr appearances to the previous scan, the cord is significantly flattened. Moderate narrowing of the neural foraminae.
C7/T1 Level: Mild to moderate narrowing of both neural foraminae. The Cord appears unremarkable at this level at the T1/T2 level.
OPINION: There is now a minor degree of retrlisthesis at C6/7 level as well as the C5/6 level. There is more in the way of posterior longitudinal ligament thickening and there is focal compression of the cord at the C4/5,C5/6 and C6/7 levels. This appears more marked at the C4/5 and C5/6 levels than on previous examination. There is still no convincing high signal within the cord.


  • We are not allowed to try to explain your MRI reports to you here at spine-health. There are good reasons for this. Someone may tell you that your report looks pretty good or that you don't really have a lot to worry about, but they may be wrong. Nothing can take the place of examining your symptoms and you in person, and that would have to come from someone qualified to do so.

    There may be people who are fairly good at this and will try to help you through PMs, but still you should be careful and in the end only trust a qualified Dr. to give you the results of your MRI.

    I had problems myself reading some reports in the past (surgical & others), and found it very helpful to research the terminology in those reports, which is what make it so hard for us laypersons to understand.
  • Only a Doctor should interpret your results for you. My suggestion would be to research the terms and push your doctors or find a new one to review it. Did any of your Doctors tell you what options for treatment - sounds like you are doing or already did Pain Management and PT .. if yes then what's next? I had 2 herniated disks that were compressing my cord severely. I had debilitating pain - tried PT and helped initially and then symptoms got way worse. Could not do pain management because of how compressed my cord was so my only option was ACDF surgery - 2 disks. Still have pain and weakness but nothing compared to before surgery. Hope you get your answers and can start on the road to being painfree ..
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  • Okay, for instance, and I'm probably going to get slammed for even saying this much (lol). Minimal, mild, minor(those are all *generally* on the lower end of what is considered bad, but does not mean they are leaving the patient w/o pain/symptoms). Mild to moderate, Moderate narrowing (These are middle of the road and *generally more symptomatic, but not always). significant, cord compression, adequate, severely narrowed, compressing the cord, significantly flattened(These are *generally* more serious words used to mean the spine is showing changes and is *generally* symptomatic in the patient, but not always). Many people have these same reports however and have no symptoms whatsover. Nor does this mean that your MRI is bad or not bad in any way. This is why it is so very important for a Dr to actually *see* you in person so that you can be examined with the MRI in hand. Please don't let anything you read on the internet scare you, because each person is different even if their MRI report were to read exactly the same.

    Oh yeah, and unremarkable means just that.
  • Thanks for your responses. Here in Scotland its not so straight forward getting hold of your Neuro unless through your GP. Because I do not have nerve damage and does not require surgery at this point my Neuro has no more interest in me. The fact that I have chronic pain and have had for 3 years is sometimes irrelevant to them. My own GP may know bits and pieces of it and next appointment I have with him I'll ask him to explain as much as he knows.......until then I'll search for answers on the net. Thanks again.
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