Get your Health question answered in 3 easy steps
A Doctor will be with you shortly
Ask a Doctor Now
186 Doctors are Online

MRI report shows moderate to severe disc space and height loss and moderate diffuse disc bulging. Treatment?

User rating for this question
Very Good
Answered by

Spine Surgeon
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 116 Questions
I am a nurse and I know what my MRi report means, what I don't know is what the treatment is.

1L--L5 normal
L5-S1 there is moderate to severe disc space and height loss. There is moderate degenerative endplate signal changes. There is moderate diffuse disc bulging with minimal retrolisthesis of L5 relative to S1. There is post operative findings in the right side. No evidence of recurrent disc, there is no spinal stenosis foraminal not compromised.
No abnormal enhancement, Conus normal, paraspinal tissue is normal
Posted Sun, 23 Jun 2013 in Back Pain
Follow-up: MRI report shows moderate to severe disc space and height loss and moderate diffuse disc bulging. Treatment? 4 minutes later
Daily activities for the first 2 hours are excruciating and takes about an hour to feel my feet after waking, 3 hours for my back to ease even with vicodin 7.5/500, voltoren gel, and a XXXXXXX it is agony. stride is half what it used to be do to pain. sitting too long, standing more than 20 minutes or sitting in a chair where butt is lower than knees is excruciating. I often need the head board to help me roll over in the morning to get out of bed. on a pain scale1-10 first thing in morning I am a 9,I force myself to move to walk even if its five step steps and then sit down again leaning forward. as the day progresses if I stay moving I am an 6-7 on pain meds, at night right back 9. getting up from standing and using stirs my R leg shakes.
Laying on my stomach causes instant searing pain, increased numbness and

All images I posted are up loaded under reports side view of MRIs c and s contrast, and xray s c oblique's.

     Physical therapy said he could not help me
Answered by Dr. S K Mishra 1 hour later

Thanks for query,

I read your complains and observed MRI and X-ray films you loaded. The key points are you are 35, you have significant pain, operated for L5-S1 disc 18 yrs back and now you have L5-S1 listhesis.

In this circumstance, if I were to be your treating doctor, I would order for Xray of lumbosacral spine lateral view in flexion and extension and see for mobility between L5 and S1. Alternatively dynamic MRI is another entity which can reveal problems in listhesis not seen on simple MRI or Xray can be considered. Surgical fusion is best option if the reports are not favorable.

If surgery is not the option, try conservative measures such as reduce weight, change of job (a desk jop preferably) and physiotherapy can be considered.

You should consider discussing with your spine surgeon about these options. Plan the test under their guidance.

Hope this answers your question. Let me know if you need clarifications.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: MRI report shows moderate to severe disc space and height loss and moderate diffuse disc bulging. Treatment? 2 days later
Thank you, I will definitely ask my MD for the imaging you suggest.

I am aware there is artificial discs, however given I am young how long do they last ( I know there no set time. However, I read that it is difficult to treat when they go bad due to scar tissue around the spinal cord). Also, I heard of butterfly spacers. Not familiar with this one, given this portion of the of the back bears most of the weight would it be a viable option, or does the same problem apply with wear and tear and scar tissue. Forgive me, I am a nurse in family practice. Also, my mother suffered from OPLL in her hey never discovered what caused her OPLL as it is mostly found in oriental heritage and we do not have that demographic in our family.

What is the standard recovery time for a fusion?

Thank you, XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. S K Mishra 1 hour later

I shall answer your questions in specific points:

1. Artificial disc is not done routinely for lumbar listhesis. This is an option for cervical disc problems.

2. Butterfly spacers are again not viable options. Lumbar fusion would be the ideal option if dynamic X-ray / MRI scan results are not favourable.

3. Following lumbar fusion surgery we mobilize patients 48 hrs after surgery. However you would be able to return to work after 3 to 6 weeks.

I hope I have answered all your questions.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions
Lab Tests
Medical Topics

The user accepted the expert's answer

Ask an Orthopaedic Surgeon

© Ebix, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All the information, content and live chat provided on the site is intended to be for informational purposes only, and not a substitute for professional or medical advice. You should always speak with your doctor before you follow anything that you read on this website. Any health question asked on this site will be visible to the people who browse this site. Hence, the user assumes the responsibility not to divulge any personally identifiable information in the question. Use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions
Already Rated.
Your rating:

Ask a Doctor