The spine is divided into 4 examination regions: cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine and sacrum/coccyx. Each examination takes 20 to 30 minutes. It’s possible to combine the examination, in that case the examination lasts between 45 and 90 minutes. The examination can explain various complaints, e.g. Spinal cord disorders, chronic or acute back problems, deformities (scoliosis/kyphosis), narrowing or herniated discs.
What is the procedure?
You will lie down on a table that slides into the MRI-scanner, in supine position with your head first and the region of interest is always in the centre of the scanner. For each examination there will be different instructions. For the cervical spine, swallow as little as possible. For the thoracic spine, remain still during the examination and breath normal. For the lumbar spine and sacrum/os coccyx, remain still and don’t move your legs. Please inform the radiographer, when you have metal in your back or if you had a previous operation on your back.
When is contrast material being used?
A lot of examinations of the spine are without contrast material, but for a few indications intravenously contrast material is necessary. After injection of the contrast material it is possible to recognize e.g. inflammations (disc/soft tissue/ joints/ rheumatic diseases), scars (from previous disc prolapse operations), multiple sclerosis or tumours.