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MRI of the Spine

- See:
      - MRI in Cervical Fractures
      - Role of CT & MRI in Cervical Fractures
      - MRI of Disc Herniation
      - MRI diagnosis of Spinal Osteomylitis

- Discussion:
    - most sensitive and accurate method for screening patients with symptoms of a spinal cord lesion;
    - also useful in the evaluation of vertebral osteomyelitis;

- Role of MRI in Identifying Disk Pathology:
    - MRI is at least as useful in evaluating degenerated intervertebral disks as CT and myelography.
    - disk herniation is characterized by extension of the disk beyond margins of adjacent vertebral bodies;
    - disk space infection is characterized by an abnormally high signal intensity within disk and paraspinal tissues on T2 images;
    - gadolinium has been useful in evaluation of postop lumbar spine;
    - disc degeneration:
           - disk degeneration on MRI is characterized by loss of signal intensity best seen on T2 images (reflects dehydration of disc tissue).
           - disk herniation is characterized by extension of disk beyond margins of the adjacent vertebral bodies;
           - 34% of patients between 20 and 39 years of age will show at least one degenerative disc level on T2 signal;
    - MRI of Disc Herniation:

          Lumbar Spine Abnormalities on MR Images of Asymptomatic Subjects

Finding                            20-39          40-59          60-80

  Herniated Disk                  21                22               36
  Spinal Stenosis                   1                  0               21
  Disk Bulge                         56                50               79
  Disk Degeneration           34                 59              93

  from: Lumbar Spine Imaging: Role in Clinical Decision Making

MR Imaging of the Spinal Cord: Current Status and Future Advances.

Role of MR Imaging in the Management of Spinal Infections.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the thoracic spine. Evaluation of asymptomatic individuals.

Similarities in degenerative findings on magnetic resonance images of the lumbar spines of identical twins.

Differentiation between spinal tumors and infections with magnetic resonance imaging.