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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What does my MRI scan report indicate?

Answered by
Dr. Erion Spaho

Neurologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3335 Questions

Posted on Wed, 15 Mar 2017 in Brain and Spine
Question: Just got my MRI results back...

L2/3 level bulging disk with bilateral foraminal encroachment

L3/4 level, herniated disk encroaching on the anterior subarachnoid space and both neural foramina

L4/5 level annular bulging.

Had laminectomy and fusion of L5/S1 in 2004 with NO complications or problems in that area since. 18 months ago had low back pain, sciatica-type symptoms down right leg. MRI then showed diffuse bulging disks in the same areas. No mention of foramina issues or herniations then. Had facetal and epidural injections. No problems until 30 days ago. Having constant pain in lower back radiating to right buttock and down outside of thigh. Can you help me understand what the MRI means?
Am I a surgical candidate for discectomy? More facetal or epidural injections? My quality of life has changed significantly. I am normally active and healthy.
Thank you for your input,
Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho 31 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Surgery if no improvement after conservative treatment.

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thanks for using HealthcareMagic.

I have read your question and understand your concerns.

MRI report shows that there are herniated disc disease and bulging disc ABOVE the level that was decompressed and fused.

Since the previous MRI didn't show herniated disc disease and the last MRI showed such condition, there is progression of the disease.

Since you refer that there is a period of one month history of symptoms and if there are no neurological deficits, you can continue conservative treatment with NSAIDs drugs, physical therapy and injections ( epidural, facet joint injections etc.).

If no sufficient improvement after about one month, or any neurological deficit such leg(s) weakness, urination issues etc., decompressesive surgery ( discectomy ) should be considered.

Please discuss with your Doctor about these issues.

Hope you found the answer helpful.

Let me know if I can assist you further.

Take care.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
Follow up: Dr. Erion Spaho 41 minutes later
Thank you for your reply. I do have a couple more questions--because the disc is herniated and encroaching on the subarachnoid space and on the foramina, is that the same as a tear? If I have the epidural/facetal injections, will the discs continue to degenerate? i.e. Will the currently bulging discs herniate as well complicating the problem? I do understand that this degeneration is due to excess stress on the vertebrae above the fusion. Is this a severe problem?

Thank you,
Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho 15 hours later
Brief Answer:
Tear is another word for herniation.

Detailed Answer:
Welcome back.

Regarding to MRI findings and symptoms, in my opinion, your condition seems to be moderate.

Herniated disc is also termed as tear of intervertebral disc.

Treatment aims to stop degeneration of discs, to improve symptoms, and injections are part of this treatment, besides antineuralgic drugs, physical therapy and avoiding weights.

It is not predictable if the discs will herniate further, if symptoms become more severe, surgery should be considered.

Hope I helped you.

Kind regards.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj

The User accepted the expert's answer

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