Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine is a noninvasive procedure that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the spine area, including the vertebrae (spine bones), the spinal cord, and the spaces between the vertebrae through which the nerves travel.
See also: MRI
Magnetic resonance imaging - spine; Nuclear magnetic resonance - spine; MRI of the spine; NMR - spine
How the test is performed
You will be asked to lie on a narrow table, which slides into a large tunnel-like tube. The health care provider may inject a dye through one of your veins. This helps certain diseases and organs show up better on the images.
Unlike and computed tomographic (CT) scans, MRI does not use radiation. Instead, it uses powerful magnets and radiowaves. The magnetic field produced by an MRI forces certain atoms in your body to line up in a certain way. It's similar to how the needle on a compass moves ...
A lumbosacral spine CT is a computed tomography scan of the lower spine and surrounding tissues.
Spinal CT; CT - lumbosacral spine
How the test is performed
You will be asked to lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner. You will need to lie on your back for this test.
Once inside the scanner, the machine's x-ray beam rotates around you. (Modern "spiral" scanners can perform the exam in one continuous motion.)
Small detectors inside the scanner measure the amount of x-rays that make it through the part of the body being studied. A computer takes this information and uses it to create several individual images, called slices. These images can be stored, viewed on a monitor, or printed on film. Three-dimensional models of organs can be created by stacking the individual slices together.
You must be still during the exam, because movement causes blurred images. You may be told to hold your br...
A fragile fracture of the spine can go undetected for a long period of time. These fractures lack the drama of a broken leg or broken arm. Furthermore, these fractures are not usually caused by a life-altering trauma or incident. No, these fractures are more the quiet-types sitting in the corner of someone’s life. You can detect a fracture of the spine if you look for these five signs.
Pain with breathing, coughing or laughing: Because osteoporosis-related fractures often involves the thoracic spine, a portion of the spine that joins with the chest wall, sudden chest wall movements like deep breathes, sudden coughs or bursts of laughter will aggravate this area of the spine that may have been fractured.
Pain with bending or lifting: Compression fractures of the spine occur in the front of the spinal column. This area is under the greatest amount of stress when bending forward or lifting; thus, pain during these activities is a reliable sign that the ...
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