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How does a spine MRI scan work?

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The MRI lets your doctor examine the small bones, called vertebrae, which make up your spinal column, as well as the spinal disks, spinal canal, and spinal cord. The test looks for:

Unusual parts or curves in your spine

Your doctor may also use a spine MRI to help plan surgeries on the spine, like for a pinched nerve, or for procedures like epidural or steroid shots.

  • Fractures in the vertebrae
  • Injuries
  • Infection
  • Swelling
  • Spinal cord problems
  • Bulging or slipped spinal disks
  • Tumors

From: Spine MRI: Why and How It's Done WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Radiological Society of North America: “Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) -- Spine.”

North American Spine Society: “Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine and Brain.”

Mayo Clinic: “MRI.”

American College of Radiology Imaging Network: “About MRI Scans.”

Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler on February 06, 2018

SOURCES:

Radiological Society of North America: “Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) -- Spine.”

North American Spine Society: “Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine and Brain.”

Mayo Clinic: “MRI.”

American College of Radiology Imaging Network: “About MRI Scans.”

Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler on February 06, 2018

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How do you prepare for a spine MRI scan?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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