Patients are often referred for a Cervical Spine MRI because of:-
- Severe arm or neck pain that does not get better after treatment
- Neck pain along with numbness, leg weakness or other symptoms
A cervical spine MRI may also be done for:
- Birth defects of the spine
- Cancer in the spine
- Infection in the spine
- Injury to the spine or head
- Multiple sclerosis
- Severe scoliosis
- Tumour in the spine
An MRI scan works better than a CT scan in most cases to diagnose these problems.
An MRI of the cervical spine looks at the following:
A cervical spine MRI will include the cervical vertebral bodies, lamina, facets, spinous process and parts of the upper thoracic spine and lower brain. The cervical spine MRI can evaluate post-surgical changes, detect fractures, infection and tumours. A cervical spine MRI can also determine the extent of degenerative changes (arthritis), be used for pre-operative planning for spinal fusion and for assessing symptoms of whip lash.
Cervcial spine MRI look at the discs between your vertebral bodies. The scan can detect disc flattening, herniations, bulges and infection, also known as discitis.
Spinal Canal and Neural Foramina
Spinal nerves travel up from the spinal cord and leave the spinal canal through holes called the neural foramina. The canal and these exit points can be blocked and cause neck, shoulder, arm, hand pain or weakness.
Cerebellum and Brain Stem
The Cervical spine MRI can look at parts of the lower brain including the cerebellum and brain stem. Some conditions such as Chiari malformations, a malformation of the brain, can present with neck pain. The brain stem is continuous with the upper cervical spinal cord but not usually a cause of issues with the cervical spine.
The cervical spine MRI can detect infections, fluid collections and tumours in the muscles and tissues around your cervical spine.
Your Cervical Spine MRI Scan
Length of MRI Scan
A cervical spine MRI usually takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. If you are attending Newcastle Clinic for a Cervical Spine MRI scan, please wear comfortable clothing and remove all jewellery before going into the MRI consultation room.