Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) isa noninvasive test that produces detailed images of your lumbar spine. An MRI machine creates the images using a magnetic field and radio waves. An MRI is different from a CT scan or an X-ray in that it doesn’t use radiation to produce images.An MRI can create images with different contrast of the various structures, and hence MRI is more effective than other scans at detecting abnormalities .A lumbar MRI specifically examines the lumbar section of your spine — a region from where back problems commonly originate.
The lumbosacral spine is made up of the five lumbar vertebral bones (L1 thru L5) and the intervertebral discs in between .The sacrum (the bony “shield” at the bottom of your spine), and the coccyx (tailbone) are also part of the part ,forming the lower end.. In addition to bones, the lumbosacral spine is made up of muscles ,ligaments ,tendons ,nereves etc
Your doctor will use an MRI to better diagnose or treat problems with your spine. Your condition could be caused by spndylosis, injury-related pain, disease, infection, or other factors. Your doctor might order a lumbar MRI if you have the following symptoms:
Preparation for a MRI Lumbar Spine?
The MRI technician should be informed if you have any inner ear implants, artificial joints, a defibrillator or pacemaker, particular types of heart valves, vascular stents, brain aneurysm clips.
The staff will ask you to remove anything that contains metal, including jewelry, sunglasses or any electronic gadgets. All these interferes with the MRI machine’s ability to produce a clear image. Braces and dental fillings will typically not pose a problem, but pens, pins, and certain dental appliances can interfere.
In the case of implants and pacemakers, those items can stop working properly due to an MRI’s magnetic field.
You will be asked to wear a hospital gown or clothing that doesn’t contain metal fasteners.
Lastly if you’re pregnant , kindly inform the staff.
Procedure for MRI Lumbar Spine
During the exam, you will be asked to stay still to obtain the clearest images.You’ll lie down on a table that’s attached to the MRI machine. Your head will be on a headrest and your arms will be at your sides. A coil will be placed over your body . The MRI technician will also place a signaling device in your hand. You can use it to call for help while the test is running, if you need it.
Once you’re properly positioned, the table will slide into the machine. The MRI technician will be able to see you through a window in an adjoining room. They’ll give you periodic updates on the scan’s progress.The scanning will be loud in nature and these banging noises are normal with the machine. There is no need of worrying or fear. You will be given ear plugs to make noise within bearable limits.
Lumbo-sacral MRI scans typically take 15 to 30 minutes. You may receive a contrast solution, usually gadolinium, intravenously to allow the MRI machine to see certain parts better particularly your blood vessels.
There are no risks associated with the MRI itself. There is a very slight chance that you will have an allergic reaction to a contrast solution. Tell the medical staff if you have decreased kidney function; it may not be safe to use contrast solution if this is the case.
Once the images are produced, A radiologist will analyze your MRI images and your results will be available