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How do that shows and need preparation before an MRI of the spine?

Modern medicine is developing dynamically, using for diagnostics and operations, in the latest development of scientists. Procedure MRI of the spine can detect the slightest changes in the human skeleton and identify the cause of diseases of the back. More recently, ridge diagnostics was carried out by means of x-ray examination.

the Problem of back pain

Its not the imperfection allow to make a conclusion after one treatment. Is not harmless procedure had to be repeated several times. Magnetic resonance imaging has markedly accelerated, quality improved modern diagnosis of diseases of the ridge and made it safer.

What is magnetic resonance imaging?

The Principle of operation of magnetic resonance imaging based on the phenomenon of nuclear magnetic resonance. This phenomenon is already 80 years old is used by physicists to study the structure of crystals. But only in 80-ies of the last century began to carry out examination of patients.

During the procedure the human body is subjected alternately to the influence of a strong magnetic field (25 thousand times the Earth's magnetic field) and radio frequency pulses. They quickly replace each other, making a characteristic for magnetic resonance research sounds – tapping.

the Use of MRI for the diagnosis of the spine

Under the influence of a magnetic field and radio frequency pulses to protons in the molecules of the body are magnetized and excited, producing a return signal. This signal is detected by the sensor MRI equipment. The signal is converted into a three-dimensional image that can be seen on the monitor. All body tissues have different density, and therefore the signals they give. CT shows the anatomic map based on the biochemical distinction of the tissues. You can get about 14 different types of biochemical information without tissue damage and without using ionizing radiation (x-ray).

During the procedure, heat is generated, in addition, there are other physical and chemical effects. But the patient does not notice them, no harm to the body that does not work. Therefore, it can be repeated many times. The procedure is painless and does not cause the patient any discomfort.

What shows MRI procedure? Due to the high image quality and detail a physician may be observed in great detail the state of the vertebrae of the spinal cord and the spaces between them. Using MRI it is possible to detect fine cracks and infectious lesions of the vertebrae or disks.

Diagnostics of changes in spinal discs on MRI

Doctor examines in detail the spinal cord in combination with visualization of the bone marrow, studies nerve endings (roots) of the spinal cord, determining the causes of diseases of the back. Method allows to detect changes at a very early stage, long before they become visible on radiographs.

Magnetic resonance imaging helps to monitor the course of the disease and the influence of prescribed drugs in the dynamics. This allows you to make timely changes in the treatment and prevent the development of complications.

application field of MRI

With the appearance of acute back pain without associated symptoms (dysfunction of the sphincters, loss of motor activity or sensitivity, signs of infection or tumor) of the patient treated conservatively for about six weeks. If after treatment the pain is not reduced, the patient is assigned to a limited MRI. It includes two side longitudinal image (a sagittal).

If there are signs of compression of the nerves, doing a complete study: lateral longitudinal and transverse images.

MRI is an excellent method to identify displacements (protrusions) of the vertebral disk in the lumbar and cervical. It provides an opportunity to assess the degree of displacement, the degree of compression of the membranes and nerve roots.

Diagnosis of arthritis of the spine on MRI

MRI of the spine is used to study herniated discs. The method allows to determine the location and size of the hernia with millimeter precision.

With the help of MRI can detect a tumor inside the spinal canal. In adult bone marrow consists mainly of adipose tissue. Fatty tissue gives a distinct signal. Therefore, any changes in the bone marrow clearly demonstrated. During the test can detect local lesions bone marrow metastases.

The Procedure is indicated in cases of suspected spinal injury. It helps to monitor the recovery of the range after injury.

If you need surgery, an MRI is prescribed before the surgery and after it.

The Method is used in the treatment of intercostal neuralgia, in addition, to determine the causes of pain in the chest, between the shoulder blades orthe breastbone.

It is used if the patient has impairments of the spine and if you suspect any other disease of the spine.

the Treatment of the spine, under the supervision of a physician

Not so long ago an equipment, allowing to do an MRI of the spine in an upright position. First the patient is examined lying down, then moving table, on which was recorded the patient rises, giving the body a vertical position. This method allows to study the spine under load, in its natural state. Offset discs, pressure on nerve roots and the casing is provided with the same force as it is in the patient's life. This assessment allows appropriate treatment.

List of contraindications

due to the use of strong magnetic fields when performing MRI procedure is contraindicated for people with any electronic or metal objects in the body (artificial heart valves, implanted ports for taking drugs, pacemakers, neurostimulants, metal pins, screws, plates, staples, stents). Orthopedic joint prostheses, as a rule, do not interfere with the MRI, but in some cases can distort the result. About them should know the doctor. You need to report all injuries that result in the body can remain metallic objects: bullets, shrapnel. Metal fillings are also not dangerous, but can make changes to the image.

Pregnant women are not prescribed the procedure in the first trimester. In addition, it is impossible to do fMRI on people with congestive heart failure.

pregnancy is a contraindication to MRI

because of the need to stay in a long and narrow tunnel at the time of the survey, people suffering from claustrophobia may feel uncomfortable.

One of the disadvantages of this method is its duration. To obtain reliable images should be relaxed and motionless state of the patient. Therefore, patients with mental illness and with severe pain to research difficult and sometimes impossible. In such cases the use of calming drugs and painkillers. But not always, the medication has the desired effect. The situation is complicated by the need to find sometimes in an uncomfortable and unnatural position for examination of individual sections of the body.

Problems arise when testing children under 6 years. Children can be performed under General anesthesia in the presence of an anesthesiologist. The technical capabilities of the device do not allow very detailed MRI people who weigh more than 130 kg or with a very large waist size of the patient, associated with the diameter of the tunnel.


No special preparation for an MRI is not necessary. There is no need to follow a diet, limit fluid intake or taking drugs.

x-ray examination before MRI

To accurately determine the presence of metal objects in the body of the patient, the doctor can refer him for x-rays.

while some types of diagnostics it is necessary to introduce contrast agents. If you suspect the presence of tumors, inflammation, or vascular anomalies of the contrast medium to make the image more accurate. The quality of diagnosis in such cases is significantly increased. With the preparations for MRI, the doctor puts a contrast material intravenously. It is considered safe for humans. Before the introduction of contrast medium to the patient can be injected with saline solution.

Very rarely from the introduction of the contrast medium you may experience side effects moderate symptoms: nausea, burning at the injection site, headache, dizziness, or rashes. But if the patient is assigned a procedure with the introduction of contrast medium, it is necessary to tell your doctor about the peculiarities of your organism, about the presence of allergic reactions.

Contrast MRI

The Doctor should also know about all the health problems, chronic illnesses and recently moved operations. There are no disturbances in work of kidneys. May require additional blood and urine tests to determine the health of the patient.

In preparation for MRI, the patient should remove any metal objects: jewelry, buckles, pins, glasses, piercings, necklaces, dentures. Non-removable dentures are not a contraindication to MRI. The doctor also need to show a tattoo. Some paint for tattoos may contain metallic particles. Clothing should be free of metal buttons and hooks.

In the room, you cannot make any metal objects. Under the influence of a strong magnetic field, metal objects may at high speed be attracted by the magnetic field and injure the patient or medical personnel, as well as to disrupt the operation of the scanner.

How is the procedure?

How do MRI of the spine? Examination is outpatient or inpatient.

The MRI Machine is a long capsule, around which are located the magnets. Some speciesimaging (open MRI) instead of a capsule equipped with a tunnel that does not create in the patient the feeling of complete isolation. This modification allows equipment to perform the procedure for patients with claustrophobia. But not all types of examinations are possible in open MRI machine.

Hardware creates a pretty strong sound. The patient can offer special headphones or earplugs to reduce discomfort.

If the survey involves administration of a contrast agent, administered immediately before the procedure.

The Patient is laid on the sliding table required for the research position. His hands and legs are fixed with belts and with the help of pillows. After that, the sliding table enters the diagnostic piece of equipment (in the tunnel) and starts the procedure MRI of the spine. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine consists of several runs, each of which lasts for several minutes. Depending on the purpose of the study since the beginning of the procedure takes from 10 to 45 minutes.

The MRI Results give to the patient after the doctor shots. A doctor's note and pictures you want to save, even when the diagnosis was not confirmed. They can be useful in case you need to re diagnostics to detect changes.

Where an MRI of the spine? MRI equipment is installed in the Republican centers and district hospitals. For the procedure you need to contact your doctor. He will direct the patient to the clinic, with MRI equipment, allowing to examine the problem area of the spine.

Additional sources:

  1. did magnetic resonance imaging more accessible Neil Moore, bachelor of surgery, fellow of the Royal College of physicians, member Royal College of radiologists, Department of magnetic resonance research, University of Oxford, Oxford Radkovsky the hospital, the Attending physician magazine, issue No. 6, 1998.
  2. Modern magnetic resonance imaging Sinitsyn V. E., Morozov S. P. Department of diagnostic radiology and therapy GOUVPO Moscow medical Academy n. A. I. M. Sechenov, Moscow, Russia, Directory of outpatient physician Consilium Medicum, issue 4 2006.