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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine

What To Think About

  • Sometimes your MRI test results may be different from the results of CT, ultrasound, or X-rays tests, because the MRI scan shows tissue differently.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine can often be used instead of other tests that use X-rays, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or myelography.
  • MRI is a safe test for looking at structures and organs inside the body. It costs more than other methods and may not be available in your area.
  • Open MRI machines are now made so that the magnet does not completely surround you. But these machines may not be available in all medical centers. Open MRI is useful for people who are claustrophobic or obese.
  • Contrast material that contains gadolinium may cause a serious skin problem (called nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy) in people with kidney failure. Before having an MRI scan, tell your doctor if you have serious kidney disease or if you have had a kidney transplant.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerHoward Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
Last RevisedMay 16, 2011
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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