Spine MRI

What is a spine MRI exam?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce clear, detailed images of your internal organs, tissues, and joints. A spine MRI provides images of your spinal cord, vertebrae, and the spaces between the vertebrae.

Why has my physician ordered this exam?

Your physician may call for a spine MRI to diagnose and assess a condition, help plan spine surgery, or monitor postsurgical changes.

A presurgical spine MRI can help evaluate the presence of:

  • Infections
  • Issues with an intervertebral disk: bulging, degeneration, or hernia
  • Tumors

If there is a lack of improvement after spine surgery, a postsurgical spine MRI can help your physician determine a cause.

What might prevent my physician from ordering this exam?

Some metals interfere with MRI equipment. Be certain your physician knows if you have:

  • Aneurysm clips
  • Implanted neurostimulator
  • Inner-ear implants
  • Metal fragments in your eye(s)
  • Pacemaker/defibrillator
  • Pacing wires
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit

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