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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Re: Mri
Jan 8, 2012
You have to keep in mind that the surgeon doesn't just slice open the patient's back so he has access to the entire spine. They open or access as little as possible so as to retain as much stability and integrity as possible.

The Tarlov cyst is at the Sacral 2 level, and your fusion stops at L5-S1. Even though it sounds close, it wasn't within the field of operation.

The bulging discs do not sound severe enough to warrant surgical intervention, at least from what the radiology report indicates. A surgeon wants to fuse as few levels as possible. Each subsequent level lowers the odds that the fusion will be successful. There is nothing to indicate that one or more spinal nerves are being compressed, as the EMG was normal, and the amount of stenosis is described as mild or moderate. So there really is no reason to justify additional surgery at this point. There are things that could be a cause of pain, but nothing jumps out as needing to be dealt with surgically.

Of course the MRI is just one piece of the diagnostic puzzle. This is where the spine specialist takes the information gathered from a physical exam, a basic neurological exam and an oral description of the patient's history and description of the symptoms, and correlates this information to what is found on MRI or other tests to determine a diagnosis.

But I am still curious why you were told you were in danger of not walking again.

It is standard practice when a fusion is done on an adjacent area to remove the first hardware, or part of it, so that the fused area can be added into the area that is being newly fused.

I had surgery in 08 at L4-L5. Then 18 months ago it was added onto at either side (L3-L4 and L5-S1). The doctor had planned on leaving the screws in place, but it turned out they were not compatible with the new screws, so they had to be removed. So he took off the rods, removed the screws, drilled new holes, put in new screws and then ran two long rods that connect from L3 to S1. Just a little carpentry project....what happened to me is fairly typical of a revision surgery....

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