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Spine MRI

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What is a Spine MRI used for?

Spine MRI is a non-invasive test to evaluate the spinal cord and nerves in the spine. The spinal cord is composed of nerves transmitting important information from our brain to our limbs and organs such as bladder and bowel. The cord is surrounded and protected by the vertebral column, the bony part of our spine. There are discs between vertebrae for cushioning when we walk.

Spine MRI can:

  • Identify an abnormal disc that can degenerate and prolapse into the spinal canal and compress the spinal cord or a nerve. This can result in pain or sciatica with pain radiating down into an arm or leg.
  • Determine if new or ongoing pain is due to a further disc herniation or due to scar tissue in patients who have had back surgery.
  • Assess for tumours or infection of the bony spine, cord or cord coverings.
  • Detect whether fractures of the spine are compressing the spinal cord or nerves. This information can be used to plan surgery to repair or stabilise a fracture.

What to expect from a Spine MRI?

The examination will take between 30 and 60 minutes.