Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 7, 2015
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) exams are a powerful diagnostic tool commonly used to help diagnose spinal conditions and injuries. Interpreting the results of an MRI can be quite complex. In this article we will discuss the basics of an MRI, and how to interpret the results of a spinal MRI.
MRI & the Spine
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is a diagnostic tool commonly used in the evaluation and treatment of conditions involving the brain, spine, and musculoskeletal system. MRI provides a detailed picture of the structures of the body that would be impossible (or very difficult) to see using other testing or imaging methods. It’s best used to visualize non-bony structures in the body. When it comes to the spine specifically, an MRI can pinpoint the exact location of a pinched nerve, a herniated spinal disc, or the extent of degenerative disc disease in the spine.
Interpreting MRI Results
MRI reports are written by a radiologist (a medical professional with advanced training in the use of MRI). These reports tend to consist of a lot of medical terminology that may look like a foreign language to a patient with no medical training. Terms like enhancing, coronal, axial, MRA, and artifact all have particular meanings that relate specifically to MRI reports. Because of all these technical terms, your physician will typically sit down and walk you through what the MRI results mean.
Fully interpreting the results of your MRI requires the aid of a qualified physician or MRI radiologist. These professionals are trained to read and analyze an MRI report. This allows them to best explain the results to other physicians. Then, they can use that information to recommend the most effective treatment options for the patient. If you have questions about your spinal MRI, contact a qualified medical professional.