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Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 8999
Experience:  Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
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Pearl,Just checking to see what gas in the disc meant on

Customer Question

Hi Pearl,Just checking to see what gas in the disc meant on my CT scan
JA: OK. The Neurologist will need to help you with this. Please give me a bit more information, so the Neurologist can help you best.
Customer: I have two discs L4/5 and L5/S1 with degenerative changes and gas in the disc. I have a Schmorls's node in L1/2 and I have a left posterolateral disc protusion at L3/4 compromising the left L3 nerve root.
JA: Your nerves are the communications system for your body so you are doing the right thing consulting our Expert about anything to do with them. Losing comms is not good. Anything else I can tell the Neurologist before I connect you two?
Customer: Numbness in my left leg relating to the nerve root compression.
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Neurologist about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 9 months ago.
Hello. Welcome to JA. So you need an explanation about the gas inside your degenerating disc? The gas is carbon dioxide. It is produced in an area of the disc called the nucleus pulposus. Gas is seen inside the disc because of a "vacuum effect", where the material which makes up the nucleus pulposus has been shrinking or drying up (dessicated disc). This makes holes in the nucleus pulposus that fill with CO2 gas. At L 3/4, it is a little different. The way I explain it is to think of the disc as a jelly donut. the "hole" where they filled the disc is facing posterior lateral at L3/4, and the jelly has been pushed out of the hole, leaving a gap inside where it used to be. You also have Schmorl's nodes which is an endplate effect. the way I describe that: the vertebral body is made of two types of bone, cortical bone which is hard and dense, it makes up the upper and lower surfaces of the body, which is in contact with the vertebral disc. Inside the vertebral body is cancellous bone, it is trabeculated or honeycomb like. With pressure of standing up, and just wear and tear, the downward force on the vertebral body causes imperfections in that cortical bone, little bumps and divots, and these are called Schmorl's nodes. They signify degenerative osteoarthritic changes in the vertebral body, and are seen often in patients that are overweight. So that is my explanation of your issues. You have a herniated disc at L3/4 compromising the left L3 root. And degenerative changes as seen with Schmorls nodes at L1/2 and gas in the disc at L4/5 and L5/S1 suggesting the vacuum effect. Get back to me to discuss this further and I will reply. Or if satisfied with this answer, please remember to rate my service by clicking on the rating stars, as that is how I am compensated for this work. Thanks ***** Also, if you want to talk about all your issues with your back on the phone, I can call you. JA charges extra for this service, but if you need this, put your phone number and a time to call in the box, and I will call you. OR, just write back and we can chat. Dr frank
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 9 months ago.
Hello. I hope I was able to answer your question. Please get back to me anytime with more information, or ask questions and I will reply. Please remember if satisfied with this answer, to click on the rating stars, as that is how I am compensated for this work. thanks *****