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What does an MRI scan of the Spine show?


MRI scan of Lumbar Sacral spines of a patient with chronic back pain and weakness of leg. The MRI shows degenerative changes of L spine and lumbar discs herniation.



An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is useful for evaluating the spine for several reasons:


  1. Soft tissue visualization: MRI provides detailed images of soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and intervertebral discs. It can help detect abnormalities like herniated discs, spinal cord tumors, infections, or spinal canal stenosis.

  2. Subtle changes: MRI can detect subtle abnormalities that may not be visible on other imaging techniques like X-rays or CT scans. This is particularly important for assessing conditions like degenerative disc disease, spinal cord compression, or spinal infections.

  3. Multi-planar imaging: MRI allows imaging in different planes (sagittal, axial, and coronal), enabling a comprehensive evaluation of the entire spine. It provides a clearer understanding of the anatomy, relationships between structures, and the extent of pathology.

  4. Non-invasive: MRI is a non-invasive procedure, meaning it does not involve any radiation exposure or invasive techniques like needle insertions. This makes it a safe imaging modality, especially for repetitive use or for patients who are more susceptible to radiation.

  5. Preoperative planning: In cases where surgical intervention is necessary for spinal conditions, MRI helps in preoperative planning. It provides detailed information about the pathology, which can guide surgeons in determining the best approach and optimizing surgical outcomes. At Pro Scan Imaging we are under the National Image Exchange Portal which allows us to transfer scan images directly to NHS or Private Hospitals for Consultant follow up.

  6. Early diagnosis: MRI can detect spinal abnormalities in their early stages, allowing for early intervention and treatment. This is particularly important as early detection and management of spine-related issues can help prevent further complications and improve patient outcomes.


A spine MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) provides detailed images of the structures within the spine, including the vertebrae, discs, nerves, and surrounding tissues. Some of the specific information that can be obtained from a spine MRI include:


  1. Disc herniation or bulging: It can show if the discs between the vertebrae are herniated or bulging, causing pressure on nearby nerves.

  2. Spinal stenosis: It can reveal narrowing of the spinal canal, which may compress the spinal cord or nerve roots.

  3. Degenerative changes: It can detect signs of degenerative changes in the spine, such as osteoarthritis or disc degeneration.

  4. Fractures or trauma: It can identify any fractures or other traumatic injuries to the spine.

  5. Tumors or infections: It can help identify any tumors, infections, or abnormal growths within the spine or surrounding tissues.

  6. Spinal cord or nerve compression: It can visualize if the spinal cord or nerve roots are compressed or impinged upon by bone spurs, tumors, or other abnormalities.

Overall, a spine MRI provides detailed anatomical information that helps diagnose and guide treatment for various spinal conditions.

Overall, MRI is a valuable diagnostic tool for spinal evaluation because it provides detailed information about soft tissue structures, allows for multi-planar imaging, is non-invasive, aids in preoperative planning, facilitates early diagnosis, and contributes to better patient care.

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