Can somebody tell me what my MRI findings mean please;
Degenerative disc changes are seen throughout the visualised lumbar spine. At L1-L2 there is a tear in the posterior annulus of the disc. There are associated posterior disc bulges which do not cause significant nerve root or spinal canal compromise.
the overall sagittal vertebral alignment is preserved and the visualised conus returns unremarkable signal.
There are no suspicious bony lesions.
"Degenerative disc changes are seen throughout the visualised lumbar spine."
>> DDD or degenerative disc disease, is a disorder of the disc complexes that sit between the bony vertebral bodies. They usually degenerate in a specific progression. Usually, the first stage is dehydration of the disc, the disc loses water content. Because of this the annulus fibrosus, or the outer cartilage ring, may bulge out.
Unfortunately, the radiologist does not say what the changes are, or how bad they are.
"At L1-L2 there is a tear in the posterior annulus of the disc."
>> At this level, the annulus fibrosus, that cartilage ring, was a radial tear in it. The tear is in the most common place, in the back, next to the spinal canal. The tear goes from the inside of the ring to the outside, an is vertically oriented. But, there is NO mention of any herniation of the nucleus pulposus (the jelly like center of the disc complex). Occasionally, the nucleus will squirt out through the tear and put pressure on a nerve root. This is called a herniated disc (also called a ruptured disc). But, you do NOT have any herniations.
"There are associated posterior disc bulges which do not cause significant nerve root or spinal canal compromise."
>> There are some of those discs that are bulging, but it does not say which ones. Disc bulges can be due to DDD, but just because there are bulges, it does not mean they are pathological. Up to 40% of asymptomatic people (ones with absolutely no back pain) will show disc bulges on MRI.
The bulging of the disc is just like that of an underinflated tire. When subjected to compressive pressure, the disc bulges out.
However, the bulges do not touch or compress any of the nerve roots. The bulges are not significant enough to cause the spinal canal to be narrowed or compromised in any way.
"the overall sagittal vertebral alignment is preserved and the visualised conus returns unremarkable signal."
>> The sagittal alignment means that the spine was looked at from the side. So, the spine lines up normally. The conus medularis is the end of the solid spinal cord. It appears normal.
"There are no suspicious bony lesions."
>> There is nothing abnormal going on within the bony parts of the spine.
So, overall, you have some DDD, how much or how bad was not stated. You have some bulging disc, which do NOT cause any stenosis (narrowing) or compression of any nerve structures.
You do have a tear in the annulus of the L1-2 disc, but there is no herniation.
As to the significance of these findings, that you will need to discuss with your surgeon. All findings on any study have to be correlated with the patient's history, symptoms, and physical examination.