SPINAL SURGERY

in Hull and East Yorkshire

GEORGE SPINK FRCS (Neurosurg.) BSc Hons

 

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MRI

MRI scanning (magnetic resonance imaging) is a relatively modern technique developed in the 1980s. It uses a magnetic field and radiofrequency pulses meaning no exposure to radiation. However, as it uses a magnetic field you cannot have a scan if you have a metal implant, such as a pacemaker, metallic heart valve or aneurysm clip. Some joint replacements may not be suitable.

MRI scans produce very detailed images of the soft tissues, such as the nerves, disc, muscles and ligaments in the spine. It does this by stimulating proton molecules (mainly water) in the body, which then release a faint radio wave as they recover from this stimulation. These radio waves are picked up by an aerial inside the scanner and converted into an image.

The scanner is a long noisy tunnel, which some patients may find a bit claustrophobic. During the scan itself it is usual for the patient to wear ear plugs (provided) as the machine will make a series of knocking or buzzing noises for the duration of the scan. Most scans take about 30-45 minutes.

If after trying an MRI scan it isnít possible due to claustrophobia then the patient would usually be referred for either a sedation scan, an open scanner or a CT scan.

 


MRI


CT Scan


Myelogram


Dynamic X-ray

 


Neurophysiology