MRI of the lumbosacral spine

MRI is a qualitatively new diagnostic method developed relatively recently. MRI is used to diagnose various diseases and injuries, both internal organs and the musculoskeletal system. Of particular value is the MRI of the lumbosacral spine. It is in this department that most often various pathological changes are formed. And MRI allows you to detect these changes at the earliest stage.

The essence of the

MRI is magnetic resonance imaging. Earlier this method was referred to as NMR - nuclear magnetic resonance. MRT because of the similarity of the technique is sometimes confused with another method - CT( computer tomography).In the course of CT and MRI, images of the investigated zone are obtained in the form of stratified sections with a given step( the distance between the slices).And tomographs( special devices) for carrying out these methods to the unsophisticated eye may seem similar. Nevertheless, these two methods have fundamental differences.

CT is the same X-ray, only performed in a layered mode and processed on a computer. The principle of MRI is very different. It is based on the change in the electromagnetic properties of hydrogen atoms placed in a magnetic field with given parameters. Those who are at least familiar with the school chemistry chicken know that the hydrogen atom has the simplest device - 1 electron, rotating around 1 proton. And the hydrogen atoms we have in any fabric - we all consist of water and organic substances.

Under the influence of a magnetic field, hydrogen atoms change their electromagnetic properties. It lasts for a moment. But the modern sensitive magnetic resonance tomograph has time to register these changes. Then the received data are computer digitally processed and displayed on the monitor screen in the form of layered images. And then these images are printed out as a snapshot - a tomogram.

Tomogram of the lumbosacral spine
Tomogram of the sciatica in the sagittal( anteroposterior) direction


As already mentioned, the lumbosacral section is subject to various negative changes more than other parts of the spine. And MRI can detect these changes. Indications for MRI of the lumbosacral spine are:

  • Pain in the loin of an unclear cause;
  • Osteochondrosis;
  • Disk hernias of various degrees - prolapse, protrusion, sequestration;
  • Pathological changes of the vertebrae and intervertebral articulations - spondylosis, spondyloarthrosis, b-nd Bekhtereva;
  • Any circulatory disturbances at the local level, incl.and hemangiomas - vascular tumors;
  • Any other tumors of the lumbosacral section - both benign and malignant;
  • Various types of curvature - pathological lordosis, scoliosis;
  • Stenosis( narrowing) of the spinal canal;
  • Collapse of vertebrae in tuberculosis;Injuries and their consequences.
Also you can read:
mrt spine When is it recommended to make a mert of the spine?

It can be seen that MRI is used to detect a new pathology or to clarify previously established diagnoses.

This raises a completely logical question: is this expensive method necessary? Perhaps, it is quite enough usual radiography? Maybe enough, but not always. The resolving power of X-rays leaves much to be desired. This method can be used only for the diagnosis of bone lesions and pathological formations. But the state of the ligament apparatus, blood vessels, muscles, intervertebral discs can not be evaluated by X-ray. And even more effective method, CT does not always cope with the task.

Another undoubted merit of MRI of the lumbosacral spine is its non-invasiveness, absence of the need for penetration into the internal environment of the body.

The fact is that earlier for the diagnosis of the pathology of the lumbar department, pneumomielography was used. By means of puncture, a contrast agent was injected into the spinal space, and then a picture was taken. The method is not always informative and also inconvenient for the doctor and potentially dangerous for the patient due to the high risk of complications. The introduction of MRI in diagnostic practice allowed to solve these problems.

Methodology of

Before the MRI, no preparation is required in the form of food or drug restrictions. The exception is patients with claustrophobia( fear of confined spaces) or children. The presence of a tomograph in the chamber can cause them to have various psychopathological reactions. To avoid this, this category of patients is injected into drug sleep with the help of anesthesia. For this reason, food and drink should not be taken before the test, otherwise the administration of medication can provoke vomiting.

MRI procedure
MRI procedure - comfort and safety first of all.

. Before carrying out the research, you should dress in hospital clothes. Although it is possible and in their clothes, but without metal elements - lightning, buttons, fasteners The fact is that contact with metal products in a strong magnetic field of the tomograph can pose a threat to the health of the patient. For the same reasons, it is necessary to remove ornaments, removable dental metal prostheses. Permanent dentures and metal braces are not contraindications to MRI of the lumbosacral spine.

But other metal elements inside the body serve as contraindications to this method of diagnosis. These can be metalosteosynthesis components( staples, plates, screws) after fractures of bone, metal vascular clips, heart valves, artificial joints. MRI is also prohibited in the presence of a pacemaker. All digital devices( mobile phones, flash drives) in the area of ​​the MRI can fail and therefore are left in another room.

The very procedure of MRI of the lumbosacral spine is not accompanied by any painful sensations. Its duration is about an hour or a little more. True, recently in large clinics began to appear tomographs of a new generation, which allows to significantly shorten the duration of diagnosis. MRI of the lumbosacral spine is done in 2 modes - usual( native) and contrast. In the second case, in order to better visualize the tissues, a contrast agent is administered intravenously. Contrasting MRI is contraindicated in individuals who are allergic to a contrast agent.

MRI of the lumbosacral spine is performed in 2 mutually perpendicular planes - vertical and sagittal. The pictures are taken with a pitch of 3-4 mm. After that, the resulting tomogram is printed and copied to a digital medium( disk, flash drive).Immediately issued a medical report. Although in some cases requiring more qualified evaluation, MRI data can be sent over the Internet.

The final stage is familiarization with the conclusion of the attending physician( neurologist, neurosurgeon, traumatologist, vertebrologist).Depending on the data received, the attending physician chooses the method of conservative treatment or decides on an operative intervention in the lumbosacral spine.

MRI results