Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine
An MRI is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of the spine. In many cases an MRI gives different information than an Reference X-ray Opens New Window, an Reference ultrasound Opens New Window, or a Reference CT scan Opens New Window. An MRI also may show problems that cannot be seen with other imaging tests.
For an MRI, your body is placed inside a machine that contains a strong magnet. Pictures from an MRI can be saved and stored on a computer for further study. In some cases, a Reference contrast material Opens New Window may be used during the MRI to show certain parts of the body more clearly.
The MRI can find changes in the spine and in other tissues. It also can find problems such as infection or a tumor. MRI can look at the spine in the neck (cervical), upper back (thoracic), or lower back (lumbosacral). The entire spine can be seen in one series of pictures to find a tumor. More detailed pictures of one area, Reference such as the lumbar spine, Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window may be taken.
MRI may be used to check low back problems.
You may be able to have an Reference MRI with an open machine Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window that doesn't enclose your entire body. But open MRI machines aren't available everywhere. The pictures from an open MRI may not be as good as those from a Reference standard MRI machine Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 16, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology