These MRIs were posted by Kate on a forum in July 2009.
The MRI scans were captured on June 30, 2009.
On the spinal MRI, you can see a clear defect in his lower back, so this does confirm a spina bifida diagnosis. It’s the site of Joshua’s spina bifida lesion where Kate mentions the presence of fluid, scar tissue and lipoma (a fatty tumor.) Fluid shows up as solid black on an MRI.
On the brain MRI, you can clearly see the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding the brain. The CSF appears as a strip of black between the brain and the skull, which appears white. Kate mentions reduced CSF flow at the back of his brain and it does appear that perhaps there is less CSF in that area, but it’s difficult to perform an accurate layman’s comparison due to the angle of his head (his head is tipped back, whereas other sample MRIs had a more normal orientation.)
There are some comparison MRIs at the end. So you can see Joshua’s scans compared to a normal scan and a chiari malformation MRI compared to a healthy brain MRI.
On July 1, 2009, Kate wrote, in part:
In my nonprofessional opinion, his brain looks similar to his last scan on Feb. 20th, but his back has a lot more scar tissue and lipoma than back in February. The good news is that he doesn’t have a huge collection of fluid outside his spine like he did back in February, so I *think* the leaks he had repaired in April are finally sealed over. Again, I don’t know for sure ~ those are my guesses ~ so I’ll see what the radiologist & neurosurgeon have to say (we see her tomorrow)…
…I got the radiologist’s report on Joshua’s MRIs. In a nutshell, the report says there is reduced CSF flow at the back of Joshua’s brain where the skull meets the neck, which is not a good thing (technical speak: “CINE imaging shows restricted CSF pulsations through the posterior aspect of the foramen magnum.”) Will it be significant enough that Dr. Wehby wants to do something about it? I don’t know yet. I’ll find that out tomorrow.
…The spine MRI showed significant scarring & lipomatous tissue with a low-lying conus (tip of the spinal cord ~ it’s supposed to be at the level of L1 and Joshua’s is pulled down to the sacral level right now). There is no movement of the spinal cord during CINE imaging (it’s supposed to move; the fact that it didn’t means the cord is stretched tight, which is obviously not a good thing). Again, I don’t know if this will concern Dr. Wehby enough to want to do something about it at this time. I’ll report on that tomorrow.
For comparison purposes, we obtained “normal” spinal and brain MRIs and put them side by side for a comparison. The angle on the brain MRI is a bit different so it’s difficult to determine if the differences are due to a structural abnormality or the angle/positioning.