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MRI Spine

What is MRI of the spine?
MRI is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal Body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, transmitted electronically, printed or copied to a CD. MRI does not use ionizing Radiation (x-rays).
Detailed MR images allow physicians to evaluate various parts of the body and determine the presence of certain diseases.

Why should I do it?
MRI imaging of the spine is performed to help:

  • Assess the spinal anatomy and alignment.
  • Detect congenital anomalies of vertebrae or the spinal cord.
  • Assess problems with intervertebral disk disease (degenerated, bulging or herniated) and intervertebral joint disease, both frequent causes of severe lower Back pain and sciatica (back pain radiating into a leg).
  • Assess compression of spinal cord and nerves.
  • Help plan spinal surgical procedures, such as decompression of a pinched nerve or spinal fusion.
  • Monitor changes in the spine after an operation, such as scarring or infection.
  • Guide the injection of steroids to relieve spinal pain.
  • Explore other possible causes of back pain (compression fracture, for example).
  • Image spinal infection or tumors that arise in, or have spread to, the spine.
  • Assess inflammation of the spinal cord or nerves.

Any preparations needed?

  • Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam vary with the specific exam.
  • The radiologist or technologist may ask if you have allergies of any kind, such as allergy to iodine or x-ray contrast material, drugs, food, the environment, or Asthma.
  • The radiologist should also know if you have any serious health problems, or if you have recently had surgery.
  • Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
  • If you have claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a prescription for a mild sedative prior to the scheduled Examination.
  • Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. These items include
    • Jewelry, watches, credit cards and hearing aids, all of which can be damaged.
    • Pins, hairpins, metal zippers and similar metallic items, which can distort MRI images.
    • Removable dental work.
    • Pens, pocket knives and eyeglasses.
  • People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI scanning area unless explicitly instructed to do so by a radiologist or Technologist who is aware of the presence of any of the following:
    • Internal (implanted) defibrillator or pacemaker
    • Cochlear (ear) implant
    • Some types of clips used on brain aneurysms
    • Some types of metal coils placed within blood vessels
  • You should tell the technologist if you have medical or electronic devices in your body, because they may interfere with the exam or potentially pose a risk, Depending on their nature and the strength of the MRI magnet. Some implanted devices require a short period of time after placement (usually six weeks) Before being safe for MRI examinations. Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Artificial heart valves
    • Implanted drug infusion ports
    • Implanted electronic device, including a cardiac pacemaker
    • Artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses
    • Implanted nerve stimulators
    • Metal pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples
  • A recently placed artificial joint may require the use of another imaging procedure. If there is any question of their presence, an x-ray may be taken to detect And identify any metal objects.
  • Patients who might have metal objects in certain parts of their bodies may also require an x-ray prior to an MRI.
  • Parents who accompany children into the scanning room also need to remove metal objects and notify the technologist of any medical or electronic devices They may have.
  • Infants and young children may require sedation or anesthesia to complete an MRI exam without moving