How to Read a MRI of a Lumbar Herniated Disc Lower Back Pain Colorado Spine Surgeon
We’re going to look now at a lumbar spine MRI of a patient that has a disc herniation and again we see the side view spinal cord ending here nerve roots coming out and the white being cerebral spinal fluid the water these are the vertebra these are the discs the L one two.
Two three and three four discs are normal the white on the inside the jelly is full of water the dark plies in the tire normal here at the four five level there is a degenerative disk you don’t see the normal white of a normal disc and you see a small tear in the back of the disc right there at the five one level it looks somewhat like the four five level as it’s dark in the disc but you can see a complete rupture at the back of the disc.
And a disc herniation here which is filling up the spinal canal this is a typical disc herniation you can look at it now from the topdown view and will come down to the five one level no better yet we will start at three four here and here is that jelly filled donut the normal jelly on the inside the donut on the outside the sack of nerves here all of these black dots are.
The nerve roots the back of the disc is flat to concave this is normal we come down from that level to the four five level and here is a small tear in the back of the disc this is called an annular tear but the nerves behind that tear are not compressed therefore this patient shouldn’t have any nerve pain from this tear we come down to the five one level and here we see a massive herniated disc.
You can see on the right side the nerve in some of the nerves in the right side are free and open on the left side you’ll see that this herniation is compressing the roots here and this patient has significant left leg pain this is the view of the disc herniation at that level.
How to Read Xrays of the Cervical Spine Neck Colorado Spine Expert
We’re going to look at the cervical spine anatomy via xray in general for the cervical spine there are two views to be taken the front to back view and the side view they are represented on the screen here by that view right there and by the side view here.
On the front to back view you can see how the vertebra line up one on top of another you can look at these little tiny triangular processes called the unco vertebral joints and that can tell you something about the health of the vertebra and on the side view again you see the base of the skull.
You can see the jaw you can see the individual vertebra and then you can see where the discs are in between the vertebra the discs of course don’t show up because there’s no bone in the disc but you can actually see the disc heighth and get a general idea of the welfare of the disc you can look in the back part of the spine here and see the facets.
This is also the canal were the spinal cord lives in through here and these are the spinous processes that project out the back that you can palpate by simply putting your fingers on the back of your neck.