MRI of The Back

Two Views of back MRI scans.

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MRI of the Back

A doctor or physician may order an MRI scan of the back to take pictures of the back and spine. An MRI is useful because it shows healthcare providers what tissue is normal, and what tissue is not. Many organs in your body can be seen during a quality MRI of the back.

A quality MRI scan can show radiologists what may be causing your symptoms and it's important that you find the best machines and radiologists possible to receive the best imaging.

Reasons for a Back MRI:

An MRI scan may be done to rule out infection or tumor. The MRI may show tissue that has cancer cells and tissue that does not have cancer cells.

MRI back scans are most commonly used for pre-surgical planning, such as for decompression or a lumbar spinal fusion.

A back MRI can be used for patients who have had back surgery, to differentiate scar tissue from a recurrent disc herniation.

A MRI scan of the back can be used prior to performing an epidural injection to rule out the risk of injecting a steroid into a tumor or infection.

A Back MRI may help diagnose (find):

A MRI of the back provides a physician with specific information including spinal alignment and vertebral body configuration.

A MRI scan can show disc height and hydration, as well as if a disc is normal, bulging, herniated, or degenerated.

A back MRI scan may show whether your nerves are pinched (compressed) or inflamed, or if there are any other abnormalities near the spine that might stimulate spinal pain, such as narrowing of the spinal column or abnormal wearing on the bones and cartilage in the spine.

If the MRI back scan is taken after surgery, it can show whether anything has changed since the surgery including postoperative scarring or infection.

Getting a MRI:

Find out what the experience is like and what you should expect.

Before the MRI
During the MRI
After the MRI


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IMPORTANT: The information on this page, and throughout the entire site, is not intended to provide advice or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s). Images are shown for illustrative purposes. Do not attempt to draw conclusions or make diagnoses by comparing these image to other medical images, particularly your own.

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