MRI exploration of the backbone can detect and analyze vertebral changes (tumors, compressions, inflammations, etc.), intervertebral discs, spinal cord, meningeal or soft tissues in the vicinity of the backbone. This type of exam is commonly used to highlight disc hernia and eventual compression of the corresponding nerve roots. Exploration is performed by centering the investigation on specific segments of the backbone (cervical, thoracic or lumbar), depending on the indication of the neurologist and / or the orthopedist. If multiple segments are required, the exploration time increases accordingly. To evaluate degenerative changes (spondylosis) and for most disc variations, the exam is limited to a native exploration. In particular cases, especially in suspicion of inflammation or tumors, the examination must be completed by intravenous contrast injection.
What is Backbone MRI?
It is a noninvasive imaging investigation used to highlight disease changes in the backbone, spinal cord and surrounding tissues. Currently, it is the most advanced paraclinical diagnostic imaging method.
How does the patient prepare?
The patient has no prohibitions on food and non-alcoholic liquids, unless otherwise indicated by the specialist. It is useful to bring any medical documents in case of illnesses already diagnosed. Before entering the room where the procedure is going to be performed, the patient should not have jewelry, glasses, clocks, magnetic cards, or other metallic clothing. You need to tell your doctor exactly if / what type of metal or electronic implants you have in your body.
In which conditions is this investigation used?
Backbone MRI is used to diagnose diseases such as:
– congenital abnormalities of vertebrae and spinal cord
– discopathy (degeneration, intervertebral disc herniation) that causes severe pain in the backbone
– inflammatory diseases of the spinal cord and spinal nerves
– vertebral infections
The investigation allows an advanced visualization of the vertebral discs, ligaments, spinal cord after trauma, and has an increased accuracy in the detection of backbone tumors. Based on the images obtained, the neurosurgeon doctor has a precise image of the lesion and can decide if the surgery is required. At the same time, the investigation is used for postoperative imaging monitoring.