MRI Lumbosacral Spine without Contrast
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is an imaging modality that uses a magnetic field, the energy of radio waves, and a computer to create images of internal body organs, bones, and soft tissues. There are small bones in your body called vertebrae that are joined together to form the “spine.” The lumbosacral spine refers to the part of the spine located in the lower part of your back. It consists of 5 large lumbar vertebrae and five fused vertebrae to make a single bone piece known as a sacrum that ends in the tailbone (coccyx) and is connected to the pelvis on either side. The spine encloses your spinal cord, and in between each vertebra, there is an opening for the nerves to exit and supply the surrounding muscles and organs. With the help of an MRI lumbosacral spine, your doctor can see the vertebrae, spinal disks, spinal canal, and spinal cord.
No contrast material is used in MRI without contrast.
Why and when do you need this test?
Some of the indications for an MRI lumbosacral spine include the following;
- Lower back pain
- Pain that radiates to legs
- Lower back stiffness and limited mobility
- Inability to control bladder or bowels
- Tingling or Numbness in feet or toes
- Paralysis or Weakness in the legs
- Problems with walking and maintaining posture or balance
- Trauma to the lower back
- To check for tumors, infections, masses, etc.
Do you need to prepare for the test?
- It is a special test that may need some preparation.
- You may eat or drink according to your doctor’s advice
- Since the test uses a magnetic field, you may need to tell the doctor if you have any metal implants, pacemakers, or prostheses in your body and bring detailed information about them.
- You would be asked not to wear any jewelry or watches or not bring keys, credit cards, or ATM cards.
What can you expect?
- You will be asked to lie down on the table that will slide into the MRI machine that looks like a large tunnel
- You need to lie down still and not move to prevent the images from getting blurry.
- Inside the machine, you will hear tapping or snapping noises.
- You will be alone in the room but under the constant care of a technician across the glass window who will be talking to you.
- It is a painless procedure that lasts for about 30-60 minutes but may take longer.
Are there any risks to this test?
It is a non-invasive test that usually has no risks. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, have kidney disease, or have any metallic implants or prostheses in your body.
What do the test results mean?
The abnormal results may include;
- Vertebral fractures
- Injuries of the surrounding ligaments
- Spinal cord compression
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column)
- Cauda equine syndrome
- Slipped or Bulging spinal disks
- Pressing of your nerves or spinal cord
- Unusual curves in the spine
- Abnormal birth defects
Other related tests may include:
- CT scan of the spine
- X-ray of the spine
Frequently ordered together
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- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Autoimmune interstitial lung disease etc.
- Hip Pain
- Trigger finger
- Chronic Pain Syndrome
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Chronic Back Pain
- Lupus (SLE)
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- Acute And Chronic Conditions
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- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
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