A MRI spine can be used to display vertebral anatomy, disk spaces, ligaments, and the spinal cord. It can also detect congenital abnormalities or injuries to the spine, explore causes of back pain, and assess tumors. It is also used to plan surgical procedures and monitor post-surgery progress. MRI is the most sensitive imaging test of the spine in a clinical environment.
How to prepare:
Before going for an MRI, a person can usually eat, drink, and take their medication as normal, unless the doctor has specified otherwise. However, it is important for an individual to inform their doctor if they:
- have any metal implants, such as a pacemaker or a hip or knee replacement
- might be pregnant
- have a history of allergic reactions, which is important if the scan requires the use of a contrast dye
A spine MRI typically lasts between 30 and 90 minutes. The technologist, who can hear and see you during the exam, will provide you with an emergency button so you can communicate with them throughout the procedure.