A non-invasive diagnostic procedure, Spinal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) testing produces multiple cross-sectional images of the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spines in a three-dimensional image. This test analyzes the anatomy of the spine including the vertebrae, disks, spinal cord, and nerves.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing on the head uses a magnetic field to produce detailed images of the soft tissues, glands and other structures within the head and neck area. Your doctor may suggest a Head MRI if you have already undergone a CT scan of your head.
Locations Offering This Procedure:
Who Needs This Procedure?
Patients with back pain, pain in the legs and arms, or numbness may be asked to undergo a Spine MRI. This imaging test is used to diagnose disc herniations, spinal stenosis, nerve root or spinal cord impingement, scoliosis and other congenital anomalies, spinal fractures, spinal infection/inflammation, spinal mass, or other spinal abnormalities.
Women who are pregnant are advised not to undergo MRI procedures.
Preparing For The Procedure:
Patients should remove all metal objects from their person prior to the procedure, as the magnetic field of the exam unit may be interfered with. Notify your doctor of any implants, dental materials or other metal objects that are in your body, in order to minimize complications. Your doctor may advise you not to eat or drink before the procedure if a contrast material is being used.
During The Procedure:
The patient lays on the exam table for the entirety of the procedure. If necessary, a contrast material will be administered intravenously. While the MRI unit is capturing images, the exam table will move the patient through, building a 3D image. Most procedures last about 45 minutes.
What Will I Experience?
Some patients may feel anxious about being inside a traditional “closed” MRI machine. “Open” MRI units are available for patients who would prefer it, especially those with claustrophobia. However, the capabilities of the “open” MRI unit are usually less than that of a “closed” unit.
MRI technology offers detection of soft-tissue abnormalities in a non-invasive way. MRI does not emit radiation, making it a safe alternative to other imaging technology.