Health Care

MRI Advances and Spine Care

A man prepares for his MRI.
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It is the continued advances in technology that provide opportunities for pace setting patient care. Increased equipment availability and highly developed software has opened previously closed pathways to world-class treatments. As an industry leader in spine care, Dr. Patel utilizes cutting edge tools to better serve his patients.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a sophisticated method of imaging that has evolved and gained momentum amongst health care providers. It is utilized to facilitate the diagnosing and treating of conditions throughout the body. MRI is a tool frequently used by physicians when planning and implementing care pathways tailored to patients' unique needs.

MRI uses magnets and radio waves to obtain images of the largest to the smallest internal body structures. It is considered the safest means of imaging because there is no exposure to harmful radiation. The demands for safe and comfortable modes of imaging have prompted manufacturers to diversify equipment. Currently, there are several options available for MRI including: closed, open, and stand-up. The difference in type is the degree of body enclosure and body position.

Closed – A conventional tunnel or tube with open ends. The patient lies flat.

Open – A tube that has open ends and sides. The patient lies flat.

Stand-Up – A scanner that is open at top and along front. The patient sits upright.

Sophisticated technology is reliant on highly developed sources of power to function. For example, the more horsepower you have in your car the faster it will go. In terms of MRI scanners, if the acquired sequences are optimized for spine then the more Tesla, a unit of magnet strength, you have the higher quality image you will receive. For spine, good quality images can be obtained on 1.5-3.0 Tesla scanners. Any image taken on a scanner with low magnet strength may not provide your healthcare experts with the quality of images needed.

In the past diagnosing conditions involving small structures have proven to be challenging. Advanced MRI scanners and specialized assessment skill sets are tools that aide our multidisciplinary team in the evaluation of spine conditions on a routine basis. Research has shown that MRI is the method of choice for diagnosing conditions of the lumbar discs.1 These images are invaluable to those suffering from back pain.

References

1. Jackson, R., Cain, J., Jacobs, R., Cooper, B., & McManus, G. (1989). The Neuroradiographic Diagnosis of Lumbar Herniated Nucleus Pulposus:II. A Comparison of Computed Tomography(CT), Myelography, CT Myelography, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Spine , 14 (12), 1362-1367.

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