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Have had back problem. MRI showed abnormally low bone marrow signal diffusely at all levels. What does this mean?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
I got an MRI of my thoracic spine to check for degenerative changes. i am 24 an have had back problems for about 5 years. my mri says "abnormally low bone marrow signal diffusely at all levels. and they said i have a cyst on my kidney. in impressions it says cant rule out marrow infiltrative. my doctor says i need to be referred to hematologist. but i am in my home town for two weeks so i didnt get much info so i just want to know what all this can mean

I seen my doctor and she called a different Radiologist and he said that it could be normal for my age to have thise bone marrow reading is this true? because what my report said that it could be related to anemia and i have been having shortness of breath with just little activity. I 4 months ago could run 2 miles in 13:00 now i can hardly wipe down a bed for 30 seconds before gasping for air.
Posted Mon, 12 Nov 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Yes , marrow intensity seen on MRI varies with age and the bone marrow may be seen as actively proliferating in young age , in anemic patients or patients with other blood or inflammatory disorders . However it's always best to rule out any marrow infiltration by abnormal cells as seen in malignancies or blood disorders , hence your doctor might want a referral to the hematologist .
Considering your symptoms your backache could be due to mild degenerative postural and scoliotic changes in your spine and your breathlessness could be due to the anemia however a simple complete blood count and smear would be preferred to confirm the diagnosis as well as rule out any other significant causes as mentioned above.
If your illness has progressed rapidly in the last one year it is all the more important to get yourself thoroughly investigated by a hematologist for confirmation of type and severity of anemia .
Please do not worry , as these issues ( anemia ,spine problems ) are readily treatable once diagnosed and the earlier treated the better would be the prognosis .The cyst in your kidney may or may not be related to your illness as it can just be a physiological coincidental finding ( assuming your renal function is normal ) .
In case you have not undergone blood tests like hematologic profile , renal profile etc it's advisable you get it done to be on the safer side.

Hope I have answered your query.
If you have any other doubts please feel free to ask .
Wishing you good health.
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