ZocdocAnswersWhat do the results of a MRI on lower back mean?

Question

What do the results of a MRI on lower back mean?

I received my results via webpage rather than through my primary. Would like to know what to expect and what questions to ask. Lower back pain with pain and numbness down leg. Previous MRI showed 8mm lesion characteristic to bone marrow and atypical to hemangioma. Bone scan and xrays revealed nothing abnormal. results paraphrased: Unremarkable structure, no fractures evident. T2-weighted and STIR high signal in left paracentral location of L4 vertebral body 1.6 x 1.2 cm in size with low signal on T1-weighted images, not indicative of a typical hemangioma. No evidence of disc herniation, focal disc bulge or significant stenosis. Soft tissues unremarkable. BUN and MCHC levels a little high from blood tests, rest normal. I am severely malnourished due to digestive issues and have a long history with anemia so found that odd. 100lbs 5'4 age 25 female.

Answer

I'm glad to hear that you plan to return to your primary doctor to discuss the results of your MRI, because this type of advanced imaging is only helpful when interpreted in the context of your individual symptoms and physical exam findings. It sounds like you have a complex medical history, making it even more important to follow up with your primary doctor. With regard to your MRI results, they indicate that you have a lesion in one of your vertebral bodies (bones that make up the spine) that does not appear to be a hemangioma (a common vascular anomaly seen in the bones of the spine). Based on the information provided, it is not possible to say what other things this finding may represent. "No evidence of disc herniation or focal disc bulge" means that the inter-vertebral discs (fluid filled "cushions" that act as shock absorbers between the bones of the spine) are normal and show no signs of degeneration, which is a good thing. No "significant stenosis" means that there are no areas that your spinal cord or spinal nerve roots are being compressed, which is also a good thing. "Soft tisuses unremarkable" means that the surrounding muscles, blood vessels, ligaments, and fat/skin show no abnormalities. Overall the MRI does not appear to explain the pain and sensory changes you are experiencing in your leg. It is definitely worth discussion other potential causes of your pain and other specialists you may benefit from seeing when you talk to your primary care doctor.

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

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