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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index


Hi Braccine...I love your kitty. Why is it that cats in hats looks so funny?

I am one of the MRI "interpreters" here...not that I have anything to do with radiology but I've had to learn from reading my own MRI's and CT's and then doing the research to understand.

The first part of your MRI talks about reversal of lordosis....lordosis is the natural inward curve in your neck and as we age, it tends to go straight and then go backwards but injury or arthritis can speed this up considerably. And I suspect the reference to dissection is that the vertebrae are slightly opened up as a result of that reversal. Think of a slinky....you bend it to the right and it opens up and then you bend it to the left and the same happens. Same with necks. Your ACDF will help to stabilize this reversal.

Now for the rest of the report. They give the report at the area in between the vertebrae as that is where the disks are and the main trouble makers and that is where they can see the most. Your spinal cord goes down through the vertebrae and at each vertebra, a pair of spinal nerves peels off like a banana peel and leaves the cord to go out to the body. The "hole" where they leave the vertebra is called a "foramina" or neural foramina. So where you see them talking about it narrowing...that is how much that opening has closed up. They used a 4 part scale....minimal., mild, moderate and severe. On rare cases, you may see very severe. You can see you have a lot of areas where you have those holes closing up to various degrees. Docs usually operate when you get to moderate or severe. And it's that nerve compression that is causing all of your problems in your arms and your pain.

But there is another issue at C5-6 and that is the disk that is pressing on your spinal cord..."the disc protrusion creating a mass cord effect". This ruptured disc has pushed itself right up against your spinal cord. Pressure on your spinal cord does not hurt but shows up as problems below that level with muscle weakness and muscle dysfunction and numbness and tingling and a variety of symptoms. It can not only be contributing to your arm problems but can show up in your feet or legs or even with bowel and bladder control. It really does affect everything below that level all the way to the toes.

So to break it down level by level......

C2-3- mild uncal vertebral hypertrophy means you have arthritis in the tiny joints on the sides of the vertebrae and that arthritis is producing bone spurs that have blocked the spinal nerves at mild to moderate levels. The nerves at this level are probably causing your headaches.

C3-4- same problem but the bone spurs aren't blocking anything.

C4-5- you have a herniated disc that is right up against the spinal cord and it is also closing up the openings of the nerves...moderate on the left and mild on the right.

C5-6- Almost exactly the same problem as the above area but the disc has had an effect on the cord...long term pressure can make the cord tissue change and that is not good. You want to avoid that by relieving the pressure.

C6-7..You have some bone spurs here that are causing some narrowing of the opening for the nerve on the left but it is small as they haven't even rated it.

By fusing C5 and 6, that will stabilize the reversing lordosis, and get the pressure off your spinal cord by removing the bad discs and replacing them with bone grafts. He will open up the nerve openings as well. Those are your big issues. You do have another bad area at C2-3 but to fuse that, you would lose a lot of your ability to turn your head so I think he is hoping that it will settle down too. May leave you with some headaches(it should get better just having the other areas fixed) but as one who is fused that high, it makes doing things much tougher and if you can avoid it, you should do so for now.

Now it's your turn...what questions do you have?

hugs..........Jenny(fused C3 to T1)





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