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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Radiologists tend to use standard terminology, especially in the use of the adjectives minimal/mild/moderate/severe. So you can see that "moderate", which sounds innocuous, is only one step below "severe". For finer distinctions, a radiologist will often say something like "mild to moderate" to indicate an intermediate state.

More terminology...

Foramen/foramina - These are the holes in the bony structure of the spine through which pass the peripheral nerves as they leave the spinal cord and head out to the neck, shoulders and arms. When the foramina become occluded due to disk protrusions or due to osteoarthritis of the surrounding bone, the nerve roots can be impinged upon and function abnormally ("radiculopathy" - meaning "problem with the root"). This can affect outgoing signals - causing motor dysfunction - and incoming signals - causing false readings such as tingling and pain to be sent to the brain.

Disk osteophyte complex - Where the intervertebral disks interface with the vertebrae, bony spurs (osteophytes) can develop due to wear and tear over time. If large enough, these can push backward into the spinal canal, or sideways into the peripheral nerve roots.

Uncovertebral joint - a bony growth alongside a vertebra that connects it with the vertebrae above. Osteophytes here can impinge on the foramina and the associated nerve roots.

Facet joint - part of the side of the spinal structure. Behind the foramina and to the side of the spinal canal. Osteophytes here can affect the spinal canal and (?) the foramina.

Myelomalacia - Permanent softening of the spinal cord. NOT GOOD. Whatever caused this MUST be fixed before it causes even worse damage.

Cervical lordosis - the natural backward bend (lordosis) of the cervical spine. Viewed from the side, the spine can be seen to alternate between lordosis and kyphosis (forward bend).

Stenosis - narrowing - this can be either due to degenerative changes over time, where various bodies such as disks and osteophytes grow into foramina or the spinal canal, or it mayalso be hereditary. I think that, in your case, you have a certain amount of hereditary canal stenosis, which means the effect of any degenerative impingement on the canal is exaggerated.

Ventral cord deformity - The front ("ventral" - or stomach) of the spinal cord is flattened, or even indented.

Modic changes - new to me - you can look them up and talk to the doc about what they mean.

T1/T2/STIR signal - maybe someone else can explain these - odd that the "hyperintense" level is two down from your worst spinal level (C5-6)

to be continued....

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