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    Is This Serious???

    Just today, I got results of an MRI that was done about six weeks ago. Along with six herniated discs in my thoracic spine alone (which I already knew about) the report said I have myelomalacia and spinal cord edema at T6-7...this is a new finding that has not been found on previous MRI's.

    My physiatrist (who ordered the MRI) didn't seem particularly concerned about it and simply scheduled a six-month follow-up appointment. My neurologist (who I also saw today for a routine follow-up appointment) seemed very concerned.

    I feel lost in a massive medical system that never has the patient's best interests in mind.....Can someone tell me if this finding is serious, and (if so) what should be done?

    Thanks.
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

    #2
    Originally posted by Danine View Post
    Just today, I got results of an MRI that was done about six weeks ago. Along with six herniated discs in my thoracic spine alone (which I already knew about) the report said I have myelomalacia and spinal cord edema at T6-7...this is a new finding that has not been found on previous MRI's.

    My physiatrist (who ordered the MRI) didn't seem particularly concerned about it and simply scheduled a six-month follow-up appointment. My neurologist (who I also saw today for a routine follow-up appointment) seemed very concerned.


    I feel lost in a massive medical system that never has the patient's best interests in mind.....Can someone tell me if this finding is serious, and (if so) what should be done?

    Thanks.
    myelomalacia - I can't help you very much. Myelomalacia means a change in the signals from the spinal cord, I have got that too and nobody has care for it. Mine is saying the T2 signals are going slowly in the MRI and it is nothing to do with it.

    Edema is swelling.
    TH 12, 43 years post

    Comment


      #3
      Myelomalacia is shrinkage of the cord (the cord appears atrophied), and is very common at and just below the actual spinal cord injury. You would need previous MRIs to compare to this to see if this is new or progressing. Just because it was not mentioned in the report does not mean it was not there. Why was the MRI ordered?

      (KLD)
      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
        Myelomalacia is shrinkage of the cord (the cord appears atrophied), and is very common at and just below the actual spinal cord injury. You would need previous MRIs to compare to this to see if this is new or progressing. Just because it was not mentioned in the report does not mean it was not there. Why was the MRI ordered?

        (KLD)
        I have severe DDD, especially in my thoracic region. My original SCI was caused by a large area of calcification that broke and damaged my spinal cord at T8-9 due to a herniated disc. The MRI was ordered for routine follow-up and to search for changes since my bowel and bladder problems and ability to walk seems to be getting worse. My doctors monitor the degeneration. Doesn't it seem weird that this atrophy and edema is above the level of the original injury? BTW, this is a new finding. It was not present on previous MRI's
        "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by woman from Europe View Post
          myelomalacia - I can't help you very much. Myelomalacia means a change in the signals from the spinal cord, I have got that too and nobody has care for it. Mine is saying the T2 signals are going slowly in the MRI and it is nothing to do with it.

          Edema is swelling.
          Thanks for responding WFE. That's interesting that they found problems at T2 which is much higher than your original injury. My problem is also a couple of levels higher than my original injury.
          "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

          Comment


            #6
            I think the reference to T2 signaling may be about how the MRI read something not about the level involved. I'll ask Dr Young to take a look at this thread.
            Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

            Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Sue Pendleton View Post
              I think the reference to T2 signaling may be about how the MRI read something not about the level involved. I'll ask Dr Young to take a look at this thread.
              Thanks Sue. I'm about to just give up on my spine...constant pain and some new problem everytime I turn around...so frustrating.

              Too bad they can't just remove my spine, install gill slits, and let me go swim with the dolphins for the rest of my life...yes, I'm losing my mind...
              "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

              Comment


                #8
                Danine, that comment reminds of an old Don Knotts comedy where he turns into a fish. He's commissioned by the Navy as a secret weapon because he can make huge honking noises. I've probably seen it 10 times but the escapes me. Yes, gills would be a nice change for awhile here too.
                Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

                Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Sue, I think you mean "The Incredible Mr. Limpet".

                  T2 above does not refer to the spinal cord level, but to a particular technique for doing an MRI (T2 weighted). It can be done for both brain and spinal cord and shows inflammatory changes often seen in MS.

                  (KLD)
                  The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
                    T2 above does not refer to the spinal cord level, but to a particular technique for doing an MRI (T2 weighted). It can be done for both brain and spinal cord and shows inflammatory changes often seen in MS.

                    (KLD)
                    OK, now I'm really confused...the T2 reference was from WFE's MRI. My current problem is at T6-7, which is two levels higher than my original injury...any more insight on this for me??? There was no mention of any MS related "lesions."

                    Oh, BTW, could this be the reason that I feel like somebody's stabbing me in the back and stomach with an ice pick? Does this level correspond to the area of the abdomen that's about 2-3 inches below the tip of the sternum?
                    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Danine View Post
                      I have severe DDD, especially in my thoracic region. My original SCI was caused by a large area of calcification that broke and damaged my spinal cord at T8-9 due to a herniated disc. The MRI was ordered for routine follow-up and to search for changes since my bowel and bladder problems and ability to walk seems to be getting worse. My doctors monitor the degeneration. Doesn't it seem weird that this atrophy and edema is above the level of the original injury? BTW, this is a new finding. It was not present on previous MRI's
                      Danine,
                      I was misdiagnosed for a year and a half before finding out i had an avm of the spinal cord which is causing the same things you are experiencing.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jamil45 View Post
                        danine,
                        i was misdiagnosed for a year and a half before finding out i had an avm of the spinal cord which is causing the same things you are experiencing.
                        avm???
                        "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Danine View Post
                          Just today, I got results of an MRI that was done about six weeks ago. Along with six herniated discs in my thoracic spine alone (which I already knew about) the report said I have myelomalacia and spinal cord edema at T6-7...this is a new finding that has not been found on previous MRI's.

                          My physiatrist (who ordered the MRI) didn't seem particularly concerned about it and simply scheduled a six-month follow-up appointment. My neurologist (who I also saw today for a routine follow-up appointment) seemed very concerned.

                          I feel lost in a massive medical system that never has the patient's best interests in mind.....Can someone tell me if this finding is serious, and (if so) what should be done?

                          Thanks.
                          Danine,

                          I am so sorry to hear about this problem. Degenerative Disk Disease (DDD) is a terrible problem and it is all about making less bad choices. Surgery is not a good answer for severe DDD because it simply stiffens the spine and concentrate all the movements on the remaining segments, causing more wear and tear. After 2-3 operations, may patients get what is called a failed back syndrome with severe pain, spinal cord and root damage, and progressive neurological loss.

                          The words myelomalacia and even "edema" are simply words that are used to indicate that the signal on the MRI image is brighter than normal. Usually, magnetic resonance is based on hydrogen signal and, if you remember your chemistry, water is H2O. When there is increased water in the spinal cord, the signal intensity increases. Most damage to the spinal cord results in increased signal.

                          Myelomalacia means "bad white matter". White matter is usually full of fat (myelin is mostly lipid) and has lower water content than the other parts of the spinal cord. If the loss of tissue is severe, myelomalacia may be associated atrophy (shrinkage). So myelomalacia may result for damage to white matter. So, basically, what the magnetic resonance images are telling you is that your spinal cord is becoming more damaged by your degenerative disc disease.

                          The above sound like a lot of bad news. I believe that there may soon be better news where artificial discs and stem cells can be used to rebuild damaged discs instead of removin the discs and fusing the spine. As I point out above, the problem with surgery is that it stiffen the spine and aggravates the problem. However, there should be better surgery options that allow surgeon to repair and rebuild discs rather than fusing.

                          Wise.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thank you, Wise. I am truly frustrated with my body...and probably with the universe in general right now. Is there anything I can do to help myself...other than lose excess weight?

                            Also, I'm assuming that calcium deposits would be obvious on MRI's, right? I'm going to attach a CT scan that I had prior to my laminectomy for the damage done by a calcium deposit at t8-9. As I look at it, it almost looks like there's some bony material at t6-7 too??? What do you think?
                            Last edited by Danine; 9 Dec 2008, 9:29 PM. Reason: Deleted CT Image
                            "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Danine View Post
                              Thank you, Wise. I am truly frustrated with my body...and probably with the universe in general right now. Is there anything I can do to help myself...other than lose excess weight?

                              Also, I'm assuming that calcium deposits would be obvious on MRI's, right? I'm going to attach a CT scan that I had prior to my laminectomy for the damage done by a calcium deposit at t8-9. As I look at it, it almost looks like there's some bony material at t6-7 too??? What do you think?
                              Danine, MRI's are not good for detecting calcium deposits. This is what CT scans (being x-ray) are best at doing. Losing weight is important. If I were you, I would go swimming. This produces the least stress on your spine and uses up the most calories. Wise.

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