Cervical Spine MRI

Using strong magnets and radio-frequency pulses, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can generate images (or pictures) of the cervical spine.

Cervical Spine MRI

Using strong magnets and radio-frequency pulses, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can generate images (or pictures) of the cervical spine.

What is a cervical spine MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine uses strong magnetic fields to produce detailed, high-resolution images of the soft tissues in the spine, which includes muscles, ligaments, discs, and cerebrospinal fluid. It is useful to help your doctor diagnose the cause of pain or symptoms in your neck, shoulder or arms.

Why would my doctor refer me to have a cervical spine MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

A cervical spine MRI can help your doctor to characterise and diagnose a variety of medical conditions. It can be used to evaluate pain, numbness, tingling in arms, neck and shoulders, and identify the presence of tumours, bleeding, swelling or inflammation in around the spinal cord.

How do I prepare for a cervical spine MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

Because MRI uses strong magnetic fields, it is essential to review your medical history prior to undertaking an MRI and be sure to discuss with your doctor and inform them if you have any metal containing implants, aneurysm clips, pins, plates, screws, staples within your body, prosthetic joints or limbs, artificial heart valves or stents. It is also important to tell us if you have a history of a metallic foreign body in your eye.  

You’ll need to remove all jewellery and piercings prior to undertaking the scan and change into a hospital gown. We also advise not to put on make-up on the day of the examination as some of them can contain metallic products 

If you have any known allergies, make sure to mention these to your doctor. If you suffer from claustrophobia, discuss this with your doctor also, as they may be able to prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help.

What happens during a cervical spine MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

You will be directed to lie down on a bench, which slides you head-first into place within a tunnel that is positioned in the middle of the bore of the MRI machine.

In some cases, a contrast agent will be injected, by your doctor or a nurse, into one of your veins or sometimes into the shoulder joint to enhance the images seen on the MRI.

Once the scan begins, the machine makes some loud banging noises while imaging is occurring. You will either be offered ear plugs to wear or instead can wear headphones to listen to music while the scan is underway.

The scan is completely painless, and you will be directed by a technician throughout the process.

How long does a cervical spine MRI take? keyboard_arrow_down

A cervical spine MRI usually takes 30 minutes to complete.

Are there any risks to having an MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

MRI scans do not use ionising radiation, unlike other types of medical scans such as X-rays and CT. An MRI scan, is therefore considered a safer alternative, particularly for individuals that might be at higher risk, such as pregnant women.  

There are no documented side effects from the radio waves and magnets used during the scan.  

Some metal containing implants can move or heat up due to the strong magnetic fields. For this reason, it’s particularly important to discuss your medical history with your doctor. While it is rare for people to experience an allergic reaction to the contrast agent used in some MRIs, be sure to mention any known allergies to your doctor also. 

What are the benefits of a cervical spine MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

MRI is an invaluable and safe imaging modality that is particularly useful to image the soft tissue in and around the vertebrae. It can help find problems such as infection and tumours. It also can help diagnose narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) and a herniated disc in the cervical spine.

How do I get my results? keyboard_arrow_down

After your scan is completed, a specialised doctor, called a radiologist, will review, and interpret the images taken and create a formal report. The report will then be sent to your referring doctor, along with the images, which your doctor may already have access to using one of I-MED's online report and image platforms.  

In some cases, it can take up to a week or more to receive all results from your MRI. 

It is important that you arrange an appointment with your doctor once the results are ready so they can explain what the results mean and can plan the next step in your care.  

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