Patients are often referred for a lumbar spine MRI because of:
- Lower back pain that does not get better after treatment
- Leg weakness, numbness, or other symptoms that do not improve or get worse
You may also be referred for a lumbar MRI if you have:
- Back pain and fever
- Birth defects of the lower spine
- Injury or trauma to the lower spine
- Low back pain and a history or signs of cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
- Problems controlling or emptying your bladder and bowels
- Disc herniation
An MRI scan of the lumbar spine looks at the following:
A lumbar spine MRI will include the lumbar vertebral bodies, lamina, facets, spinous process and parts of the lower thoracic spine and the upper sacral spine.
The lumbar spine MRI will detect tumours, infections, fractures and can also be used to evaluate post-surgical changes. A lumbar MRI can also determine the extent of degenerative changes (arthritis) and be used for pre-operative planning for spinal fusion.
Lumbar spine MRI looks at the discs between your vertebral bodies. A lumbar spine MRI can detect disc flattening, herniations, bulges and infection also known as discitis.
Spinal Canal and Neural Foramina
Spinal nerves travel down the spinal canal and leave at each level of the lumbar spine.The canal and these exit points can be blocked and cause pain or leg and foot weakness.
Conus and Nerve Roots
The conus is the end of the spinal cord and has many nerve roots extending from it. A lumbar spine MRI detects tumours and inflammation on these structures.
The lumbar spine MRI can detect infections, fluid collections and tumours in the muscles and tissues around your lumbar spine.
Length of Lumbar Spine MRI
A lumbar spine MRI usually takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. If you are attending Newcastle Clinic for a lumbar spine MRI, please wear comfortable clothing and remove all jewellery before going into the MRI consultation room.
Open MRI scan of the lumbar spine
The open MRI scanner provides a much more comfortable experience for patients requiring a lumbar scan. The open MRI is twice the width of a standard MRI scanner, and it has no walls. This makes it a better option for claustrophobic and obese patients, and can also enable people suffering from back pain to get into a more comfortable position.
The process will be explained to patients to ensure they are comfortable with the scan, and a friend or family member can stay with them throughout the duration of the MRI scan.
Request a referral to Newcastle Clinic for a lumbar spine MRI scan
If you have any questions about receiving a lumbar spine MRI in Newcastle Clinic’s open MRI scanner, please contact us using the form to the right or the live chat box below.