Lumbar MRI – MRI of the Spine

Lumbar MRI – MRI of the Spine


Lumbar MRI is done to get detailed images of the spine and the surrounding tissues. It does not involve radiation rather it uses radio waves, a magnetic field, and a computer to generate images. MRI of the spine is done if you have injury-related pain, disease, infection, or other factors are lead to this condition. It generates images that are different from other imaging techniques and shows the bones, discs, spinal cord, and the spaces between the vertebral bones where nerves pass through.

Why is it done?

A doctor may ask you to get a Lumbar MRI in the following cases:

There is a birth defect affecting your spine.

You get an injury in your lower spine.

There is persistent or severe pain in the lower back.

You have some problem with your bladder.

There are signs of brain or spinal cancer.

You feel weakness, numbness, or other problems with your leg.

There is multiple sclerosis.

To plan the procedure before spinal surgery.

To check for infections.

Disc and joint disease.

To look for spine anatomy and alignment.

If there is compression or inflammation of the spinal cord.

To check for a tumor.

It is also done in cases such as back pain, monitoring after surgery, planning procedure like spinal fusion, etc.

Xray, Cervical Spine, Healthcare, Injury

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What are the benefits?

It is a non-invasive technique and can detect abnormalities that are hindered by bone.

It provides clearer images of spinal abnormalities, injuries, and diseases as compared to other imaging techniques

The contrast material used is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

It is the best method to visualize the spinal cord and nerves.

It is the best method to analyze ligament injuries.

This method is preferred for assessing complications of surgery.

It helps to detect early signs of infection or tumor.

It helps to diagnose acute spinal cord compression.

What are the risks involved?

There are chances of using too much sedation.

The implanted medical devices may malfunction.

There could be a complication due to gadolinium contrast injection.

There are chances of an allergic reaction.

A small amount of gadolinium may stay in the body.

What are the limitations?

There are weight limits on the scanner.

If a person is not lying still, the quality of the image may be disrupted.

A large person may not be able to fit properly.

Metallic objects and implants may make it difficult to obtain clear images.

An irregular heartbeat affects the quality of the images.

It is not recommended for patients who are seriously injured.

In some cases, CT Scan can detect better.

It is quite expensive as compared to other imaging methods.

How is the result interpreted?

A radiologist will analyze the reports and send them to the physician who in turn will check them and convey the results to the patient.


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