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Pins and needles in legs, numbness in feet. MRI showed disc bulging. How serious is this?

Hi my husband has had an MRI scan and the main results were: disc bulging with mild degree of bilateral foraminal compromise. At L4-L5 level there is further moderate disc degeneration. There is a large broad-based central/left paracentral disc protrusion with significant bilateral foraminal compromise and compression and almost complete obliteration of the thecal sac and contained nerve roots at this level. Prompt specialist referral is recommended. At L5-S1 level there is further moderate disc degeneration with a small annular tear in the disc posteriorly. Broad based posterior disc bulging is again noted with a significant degree of bilateral foraminal compromise. Moderately advanced posterior element degenerative changes at the lower two lumbar levels in particular with ligamentum flavum and facet joint hypertrophy . At L4-L5 level disc and posterior element disease is combining to give a severe degree of focal canal stenosis . He had a disc removed in 1999. We are awaiting for him to be referred to a consultant neurosurgeon , but one surgeon did not seem to think it was urgent and said would have to wait til end of 2013! We are obviously trying another surgeon. He has pins and needles in both legs and both feet are numb and can only get out of bed on crutches to go to toilet. This has been going on for 2 and a half weeks. Please could you explain how serious all this is, and what surgery and how long recovery would likely be? Many thanks Mandy
Asked On : Sat, 4 Aug 2012
Answers:  1 Views:  256
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Orthopaedic Surgeon 's  Response
Thanks for writing to us.
Your husband is having a severe disc degeneration and foraminal stenosis causing nerve compression. These changes are progressive if not treated and may involve bladder and bowel too. Surgical treatment is recommended. Recovery depends on the type of surgery and the extent of decompression achieved.
I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you.
Dr. Praveen Tayal
Answered: Sun, 5 Aug 2012
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