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Fort Smith, AR
A 33-year-old female asked:

10 yr old daughter mri on lower back for curve says l5-6 diffuse mild disc bulge & mild degenerative change in facets; l6-s1 cystic changes & degenerative change in facets greater on right. normal?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Dariush Saghafi
Neurology 33 years experience
Not normal: I'm not a pediatric orthopedic type of person but the findings are certainly not what i'd expect out of a 10 year old's scan. I notice she has incontinence. Also, i don't understand "l6"....No such lumbar vertebra exists in the human condition....In fact, no mammalian spinal column should have 6 lumbar vertebrae. At any rate, all the best and hope she gets good treatment and over her issues.
Dr. Ki-Hon Lin
Orthopedic Surgery 25 years experience
Unusual: 6 lumbar vertebrae is an unusual variant but occasionally seen. To have degeneration at 10 is certainly unusual as well, but since MRI has been available, it's become apparent that younger patients can start having degeneration early. At this point, i wouldn't be terribly alarmed - simple conservative care and observation and followup should suffice - your child may very well grow up just fine.

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Last updated Jan 25, 2020

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