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Post-Surgical MRI Results
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Anon_176914 posted:
Hello community,

I underwent a microdiscectomy, L4-L5, a few months ago. There have been some improvements as well as some ongoing relatively minor issues.

I had a post-surgical MRI and it indicates the following:

  • Mild arthritis at all levels
  • A small schmorl's node at L2-L3 that was not present prior to surgery
  • Stenosis at all levels - present prior to surgery
  • There is still a small disc protrusion at L4-L5
  • Moderate/Severe decreased disc height, and minimal retrolisthesis -L4-L5, mild thecal sac compression (prior to surgery it was "severe thecal sac compression")
  • L5-S1 - disc protrusion abuts thecal sac, conjoined S1 &S 2 nerve roots - this was the same prior to surgery
At my post-op visit the surgeon said I still have good disc height...but I'm thrown off by the MRI results and the apparently new node which my doctor didn't mention.

Also, would it have been helpful to have also had a discectomy at L5-S1?

Thanks for any input!
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davedsel57 responded:
Hello, and welcome.

We are a support group comprised of mostly lay people who have had experience with back pain for various reasons. There are Health Experts assigned but they do not reply to posts on a regular basis. The rules of all WebMD Communities do not allow any of us to provide a diagnosis or any actual medical advice.

For help in interpreting MRI results, you can try the MRI page at chirogeek.com. Here is a link: http://www.chirogeek.com/003_CT-Axial_Tutorial.htm

You may benefit from talking again with your surgeon and get his/her opinion on further treatments. You may also benefit from getting opinions from other spine specialists.

Read through the Tip at the top of this WebMD Back Pain Community that lists recommended steps for diagnosing and treating back pain. There is also a Tip that list links to websites that have good information regarding spinal issues.

I pray you can get the answers and relief you need soon.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.

Blessings,

-Dave
 
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Rafael Levin, MD, MSc responded:
The key to answering your question is much more based on your current level of symptoms and their correlation with specific MRI findings rather than being destracted by the report which indicates multiple findings, many of which may be completely clinically irrelevant. I am glad to hear that you have improved with the L4-5 micro-discectomy, and it appears that your surgeon feels that additional invasive treatment at this point would not be predictably helpful in releiving the minor symptoms you are still having. My advice is for you to hold off on any further surgery at this point, just as your surgeon advised you, and don't be fixated on the report which demonstrates primarily degenerative findings that do not necessitate intervention unless they become a problem in the future.

I wish you all the best.


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