Deuk Spine Institute - Laser Spine Surgery Center Blog

I Have My MRI Report but What Does It Mean?

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If you are injured or develop pain in your back, neck or joints, your primary care physician, the ER physician at a hospital, or an urgent care doctor may recommend you have an MRI. About 30,000 MRI scans are performed every year, many of those of the back, neck and joints. At Deuk Spine Institute, we're able to perform MRI scans right here in our facility.

Magnetic resonance imaging is a form of medical imaging particularly useful in seeing the body's internal structure. Contrast provided by MRI scans provide excellent visual detail of soft tissues and the ability to distinguish between tissue types.

MRI scans are analyzed by radiologists — physicians trained to assess medical imaging like x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. Radiologists then prepare reports of their findings for the patient's family physician or surgeon to review.

Many of you will find terms cited in an MRI report to be difficult to make sense of as they are medical terminology not normally used in day-to-day conversation.

For example, an MRI report may say: “L3-L4 has degenerative disc desiccation”, or mention “severe bilateral foraminal stenosis at L5-S1”, “Predominant degenerative changes involve the facets at C3-C4 and C4-C5” or that there is “broad based disc osteophyte complex.”

Confused by terms like herniated disc, bulging disc, spinal canal stenosis, foraminal narrowing, disc osteophyte complex, annular tear, disc extrusion, radiculopathy, degenerative disc disease, facet arthropathy, spondylitis, and spondylolisthesis? Browse our conditions resource to learn more.

These terms may signal significant medical issues that require precise diagnosis and treatment. If you would like a professional medical opinion, we're happy to conduct a Free MRI Review by a Board Certified Neurosurgeon.

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