Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine is a very accurate and informative diagnostic procedure. It is practically safe for human health, and therefore is actively used in medicine. When performing this study, the patient is not exposed to radiation, since the principle of the tomograph is based on nuclear magnetic resonance.
MRI of the spine – what it is and why it should be done
MRI belongs to the category of non-invasive procedures, it is used to diagnose and select a treatment regimen for various diseases and injuries of the spine. The operation of MRI is based on frequency radio waves, as well as a magnetic field. This procedure produces accurate images of the spine through computer processing.
MRI results can be assessed on a computer screen or saved electronically. They are also printed on film. The procedure does not require ionizing radiation.
With the help of MRI of the spine, the shape of the vertebrae and discs is determined. This study also allows you to assess the health of the spinal cord and nerve endings. Today MRI is considered the most sensitive method for assessing the health of the spine.
What the diagnostics show
There are a number of indications for MRI. In particular, the procedure is used for the following purposes:
- Assessment of the anatomy of the vertebrae, identification of deformation changes.
- Revealing pathologies of intervertebral joints.
- Determination of congenital anomalies of the vertebrae or spinal cord.
- Evaluation of the results of the operation – the presence of an infectious infection, scarring.
- Diagnosis of compression of the spinal cord and nerve endings.
- Determination of the condition of the disc – identification of hernia, protrusion , shape disorder.
- Preparing for surgery.
- Determination of the effectiveness of steroid injections used to combat pain.
- Identifying other causes of back pain.
- Determination of infectious pathologies of the spine.
- Identification of malignant tumors.
- Identification of inflammation of the spinal cord or nerve endings.
Under what conditions is magnetic resonance imaging of the spine prescribed ?
MRI of the spine is performed in such cases:
- back pain;
- back injuries;
- inflammation – for example, spondylitis or ankylosing spondylitis;
- degenerative processes in the vertebrae and discs;
- destructive or necrotic changes – tuberculous spondylitis, osteomyelitis;
- vascular disorders – malformations;
- problems with blood circulation in the spinal cord;
- demyelinating pathologies – Guillain- Baré syndrome , multiple sclerosis, etc.;
- anomalies in the development of the spine.
It should be borne in mind that MRI has many advantages, which is why it is so actively used in medicine. The advantages of the study include the following:
- MRI is considered a non-invasive technique and does not require the use of hazardous radiation.
- After the procedure, you can get better quality and more detailed images. Thanks to the MRI, it is possible to detect injuries, disorders and abnormalities of the spine that cannot be determined in other cases.
- In the course of the study, it is possible to detect pathologies that may not be noticeable due to the bones.
- MRI contrast is much less likely to provoke allergic reactions.
- MRI is considered an extremely informative diagnostic method. This procedure is especially useful in identifying the substrate for spinal cord compression.
- With the help of MRI, it is possible to detect changes in the spine, which may be present at the initial stages of tumor formations or infection.
- MRI allows you to assess potential complications after spinal surgery.