What Is an MRI Of the Cervical Spine?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine may be a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic flux and radio waves to supply detailed images of the cervical spine (the bones within the back of the neck)
An MRI differs from a scan (also called CT scan or a computed axial tomography scan) because it doesn’t use radiation. An MRI scanner consists of an outsized doughnut-shaped magnet that features a tunnel within the center. Patients are placed on a table that slides into the tunnel. Some centers have open MRI machines that have larger openings and are helpful for patients with claustrophobia. MRI machines are located in hospitals and radiology centers.
During the examination, radio waves manipulate the magnetic position of the atoms of the body, which are picked up by a strong antenna and sent to a computer. the pc performs many calculations, leading to clear, cross-sectional black and white images of the body. These images are often converted into three-dimensional (3-D) pictures of the scanned area. This helps pinpoint problems within the cervical spine when the scan focuses thereon area.
Symptoms Why It’s Done
MRI can detect a spread of conditions of the cervical spine also as problems within the soft tissues within the vertebral column, like the medulla spinalis, nerves, and disks.
This test is employed to gauge injuries of the seven cervical spine bones or medulla spinalis. Doctors also use it to:
assess the anatomy of the cervical spine
help plan spinal surgery
monitor changes within the spine after an operation
MRI of the cervical spine is often useful in evaluating problems like pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness within the arms, shoulder, or neck area, and may help detect certain chronic diseases of the systema nervosum. It can also help diagnose tumors, bleeding, swelling, infections, or inflammatory conditions within the vertebrae or surrounding tissues.
Cervical Spine Preparation
A cervical spine MRI usually doesn’t require any special preparation. However, the technician will have your child remove any objects containing metal (such as eyeglasses and jewelry) because they will produce a bright or blank spot on the diagnostic film (but braces and dental fillings won’t interfere with the scan).
You’ll even be asked inquiries to confirm your child doesn’t have any internal metal clips from previous surgery or anything which may cause a drag near a robust magnetic flux. Electronic devices aren’t permitted within the MRI room.
To obtain the very best quality MRI results, your child will be got to stay still during the scan. For this reason, sedation could also be required, especially for infants and young kids, who are likely to possess difficulty staying still for the test. If sedation is required, food and liquids are going to be stopped at a particular point before the MRI to permit your child’s stomach to empty. it is vital to notify the MRI technician of any illness, allergy, previous drug reactions, or pregnancy.
Sedation medications are usually given through an intravenous (IV) line (small tube during a vein) to assist a toddler to stay asleep during the whole test. Sedation is additionally helpful for teenagers who are claustrophobic. to alleviate anxiety before and through the test, some patients take an oral sedative on the thanks to the hospital or radiology center.
To detect specific problems, your child could also be given a contrast solution through an IV. the answer is painless because it goes into the vein. It highlights certain problems of the cervical spine (such as infection or inflammation) so doctors can see more detail in specific areas. The technician will ask if your child is allergic to any medications or food before the contrast solution is given. The contrast solution utilized in MRI tests is usually safe. However, allergies can occur. ask your doctor about the advantages and risks of receiving contrast solution in your child’s case.
You can stay within the MRI room together with your child until the test begins, and in some centers, you’ll be ready to stay throughout the test. Otherwise, you’ll join the technician during an outer room or be asked to remain in a lounge.
If you’re nearby you will be ready to watch through an outsized window and ask your child through an intercom during breaks between the scans. this will soothe your child if he or she is awake within the MRI machine.
An MRI of the cervical spine usually takes about 30-45 minutes to perform. Your child will lie on the movable scanning table while the technologist places him or her into position. A special plastic device called a coil could also be placed above your child’s neck. The table will slide into the tunnel and therefore the technician will take images of the neck. Each scan will last a couple of minutes.
As the exam proceeds, your child will hear repetitive sounds from the machine, which are normal. Your child could also be given headphones to concentrate on music or earplugs to dam the noise and can have access to a call button just in case he or she becomes uneasy during the test. If sedated, your child is going to be monitored at the least times and can be connected to a machine that checks the heartbeat, breathing, and oxygen level.
Once the exam is over, the technician will help your child off the table; if sedation was used, your child could also be moved to a recovery area.
What to Expect?
MRIs are painless. Your child may need to lie still on the MRI table for 30-45 minutes during the procedure, but there are brief breaks between each scan. If your child feels cold lying on the MRI table, a blanket is often provided.
Unless sedation is employed otherwise you are told otherwise, your child can immediately return to normal routines and diet. Most sedation wears off within 1-2 hours, and any contrast medium given should undergo the body in about 24 hours.
Getting the Results
The MRI images are going to be checked out by a radiologist who’s specially trained in interpreting the scans. The radiologist will send a report back to your doctor, who will discuss the results with you and explain what they mean. In most cases, results cannot be given on to the patient or family at the time of the test. If the MRI was done on an emergency basis, the results are often made available quickly.
MRIs are safe and not difficult to finish. No health risks are related to the magnetic flux or radio waves since the low-energy radio waves use no radiation. The procedure is often repeated without side effects.
If your child requires sedation, discuss the risks and benefits of sedation together with your doctor. Also, because contrast solutions can cause allergies in some kids, make certain to see together with your doctor before your child receives any solution. There should be medical staff available who are prepared to handle an allergy.
If your child has decreased kidney function this is often a crucial medical condition to debate with the radiologist and technician before receiving IV contrast, since it’s going to cause some rare complications.
Helping your child
You can help your child steel oneself against an MRI by explaining the test in simple terms before the examination. confirm you explain that the neck is going to be examined which the equipment will probably make knocking and buzzing noises.
It may also help to remind your child that you’re going to be nearby during the whole test.
If an injection of contrast fluid or sedation is required, you’ll tell your child that the initial sting of the needle is going to be brief which the test itself is painless.
If your child is going to be awake for the test, make certain to elucidate the importance of lying still. Your doctor may suggest that you simply and your child take a tour of the MRI room before the test.