Radiology/mri reading


QUESTION: i resently had surgery for herniated disc at l5 s1 , during my physical therapy a severe pop in my back during pt, i have had a MRI done and report states <<<Fluid collection with peripheral enhancement suggestive of an abscess that is tracking into the l5 s1 disc space<<< i am wondering what does this mean really

ANSWER: Hello, Kathy.

An abscess is a collection of pus which indicates infection. The report states the fluid collection is just "suggestive of an abscess", but chances are good that the radiologist is correct.

If there truly is an abscess or infection in your disc space, you should seek further treatment right away.

Hope this helps,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: i have had all the blood work that says neg. no infection, also went to pain management dr that looked at  the mri and said it was re herniated , he didnt understand why the radiologist made that statement , it was plan as day , im confused , my dr is sending me for EMG test and CT malygram

Hi, Kathy.

If I were you, I would get a second opinion from a different radiologist for his/her impression of your MRI scan. Be sure to ask the second radiologist whether (s)he sees a herniated disc. Radiologists are specialists in reading diagnostic images. If you have a herniated disc, chances are very good that it will show up in the MRI.

I would also ask your pain management doctor whether the results of a CT myelogram will change his treatment of you. If his treatment of you would be the same no matter what the CT myelogram shows, there's no reason to take that test. However, if your treatment is dependent on the results of the CT, go ahead. The risks outweigh the benefits in that case.

Hope this helps,


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Delia White


I am not qualified to interpret diagnostic imaging or to diagnose disease. Please consult a physician for that information. I am the photographer. I can tell you what to expect during most MRI, CT and X-ray procedures.


I now have more than 30 years experience in diagnostic imaging. My specialty is MRI. I am also very familiar with CT and the way we used to take x-rays (everything's digital now)!

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Radiologic Technology.

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