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Radiology/Cervical MRI for numbness and tingling


Crack in disc
Crack in disc  


I've been experiencing numbness and tingling in my arms and legs for about 1.5 years. While this not the only symptom experienced, it's the most persistent and primary symptom.

I've had a brain MRI which was normal and cervical MRI which shows a slight bulging disc in two areas and a mild bulge in one.

My neurologist explained that my MRI results indicate no root damage and doesn't explain the numbness and tingling.
As of last week I started getting intermittent shortness of breath followed immediately by numbness in my right fore-arm, right calf and all right hand fingers except index and thumb.

I'm reviewing my MRI results and I see what appears to be a "crack" at one disc location and what appears to be a hole in one of my vertebrae. I've pointed to the questionable areas in my MRI pics. These can be seen across 3 different sets of images. What are these? Were these overlooked and could be the cause of my symptoms?

Thank you, I appreciate your time.

Hello, Bob.

First, I am not a physician so am not qualified to interpret diagnostic imaging. I am only the photographer. My job is to create a diagnostic image for a radiologist to interpret.

Second, MRI and CT images are always interpreted as a set of images, not as a single slice. Radiologists scroll back and forth through a sequence of images when "reading" these types of exams. To diagnose disease from a single MRI &/or CT image is not done.

That said, the arrow pointing to a "crack in the disc" is pointing at the slightly bulging disc. The line that you say looks like a crack is probably the edge of the vertebral body, though I can't be sure.

The vertebral bodies are the square shapes. The arrows pointing at a "hole" in one of your vertebrae are pointing at the fatty space between the vertebral spinous processes - probably pointing to a ligament, but I can't be sure of that either.

If you doubt the advice of your neurologist, I recommend getting a second opinion. Be sure to ask your imaging facility for a CD of your exam and a copy of your report to bring with you to your second opinion appointment.

Your symptoms of breathlessness followed by right-sided numbness could indicate that you've had a stroke. I highly recommend you visit your neurologist again to discuss these symptoms.

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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