ZocdocAnswers What does this MRI result mean?

Question

What does this MRI result mean?

MRI of cervical spine.Posterior protrusions of C5-6 and C6-7 disc compressing the thecal sac . What does the above report mean?IS it serious?

Answer

Anytime you undergo an MRI of the cervical spine, you should have the opportunity to discuss the results with the physician who ordered the test or a sub-specialist with additional training in problems of the spine. Conditions of the spine are complex, and successful treatment often requires a multi-disciplinary approach that involves your primary care doctor, physical therapists, pain management specialists, and orthopedic or neurosurgical spine surgeons. To answer your question, the spine is made up of the vertebra (bones) inter-vertebral discs (fluid filled "cushions" that lie between the vertebra and act like shock absorbers), and the spinal cord itself (which lies in a fluid-filled sack known as the "thecal sack"). The "posterior protrusions" in your report refer to small portions of the inter-vertebral discs that have shifted position and are now putting pressure on the sack that surrounds your spinal cord (you may have heard the term "slipped" or "herniated" disc, which is essentially the same thing). C5-6 and C6-7 refer to the level in the spine at which the discs are protruding, and therefore which nerves are at risk for compression. Ultimately, MRIs of the spine can only be interpreted in the context of your symptoms and physical examination, making it critical for you to see a physician to discuss the results. There are many of people with scary-sounding MRI results and no significant symptoms, and there are an equal number of people with normal MRI results and very serious symptoms. Both require in-depth discussions with your physician of the risks and benefits of the treatment options available.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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