Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine, which is a remarkable imaging technique, assists healthcare providers with vital information on the neck and seven cervical bones so that they can devise effective...
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine, which is a remarkable imaging technique, assists healthcare providers with vital information on the neck and seven cervical bones so that they can devise effective interventions for optimum patient care.
With its ability to provide accurate images marked by precision, cervical MRI boosts the analysis and study of a slew of conditions plaguing the upper spine. It is a great tool to detect structural abnormalities like tumors, and issues in the soft tissues within the spinal column, which include the spinal cord, nerves, and disks.
So people, who are experiencing continuous pain or having other symptoms in the neck or upper back, should get in touch with doctors who will ask them to get an MRI neck for further evaluation. It is a complex imaging process and calls for specific expertise to interpret the results accurately. So, seeking advice from competent sources is indispensable.
Few things to know about MRI neck
It is important to note that problems in the neck and spinal cord can be evaluated by both, a CT scan and an MRI, as both have their strengths and drawbacks. While a cervical CT scan operates using X-rays to have a visual interpretation of the upper spine, a cervical MRI uses the principle of using magnets and radio waves to capture precise images of the upper spine area.
There is some risk of exposure to radiation in a CT scan, but the process is faster than an MRI of the neck region. The whole CT scan process can be completed within a minute, although the preparation time may consume some extra time.
On the other hand, a cervical MRI may take a longer time between 30 minutes to an hour, but there is no exposure to any radiation. A CT scan scores due to its strength in visualizing bone and calcium. MRI is superior as a diagnostic modality when it comes to visualizing and differentiating soft tissues, including the spinal cord, ligaments, muscles, and discs. Healthcare providers also go for an MRI to study subtle bone marrow edema.
Cervical spine MRI is a fantastic tool helping doctors in diagnosing conditions of the spinal cord, if there is any degeneration of the discs in an individual or any problems in the vertebrae/backbones. Anomalies in these areas can cause issues with the nerves and cord. So, cervical MRI can help in evaluating these problems surrounding structures like ligaments and muscles.
A cervical MRI scan is more comprehensive
A cervical MRI is regarded as a more complex examination compared to a CT scan, as it is characterized by multiple and different sequences. Every sequence is marked by different properties that exhibit the tissues slightly in a varied way.
Doctors interpret each sequence of images separately and then again together, which is time-consuming and a comprehensive process.
An MRI scan can also have the susceptibility to display artifacts, which means something appears in the returned images but in reality isn’t there. This can be caused due to the movement of a patient during the scanning process. The patient should remain immovable during the entire canning process.
Hence it is very important to identify these and avoid the interpretation for something else by the concerned radiologist. One of the shortcomings of a cervical MRI is that it focuses on the larger structures centrally, including the spinal cord and the center of the disc. So, the chances of missing the subtle and smaller peripheral findings (which may be responsible for causing pain or other symptoms such as arthritis in the joints of the spine) go up considerably.
Another problem area may be in making a correct interpretation of any abnormality of the spinal cord. There can be very subtle differences in the appearance of these findings.
MRI of the cervical needs expert radiologists to make a correct interpretation
Cervical MRIs are complex to read and need the service of an expert like a subspecialist, although they can be read by any certified radiologist. So, who is the best professional to analyze a cervical MRI?
Based on the individual symptoms and conditions of the patient, the ideal subspecialist to interpret a cervical MRI is a conventional radiologist or a neuro-radiologist who has a specialty in musculoskeletal radiology.
Subspecialty radiologists have higher credentials in this regard because they go through extra training for over a year in their selected field of study. They are equipped with additional expertise and are adept in looking at any special type of exam. Due to their extensive experience, they have the opportunity to develop extensive familiarity with the different images of diseases and injuries.
Even during their practice, the subspecialty radiologists have a high number of cases and often interpret more studies that call for their specific expertise pitted against a general radiologist. The unique training of the subspecialty radiologists empowers them with additional knowledge. They often share a close-knit working relationship with the surgeons and clinicians who order the examinations. So, they are capable of providing beneficial feedback.
When it comes to having greater and more in-depth knowledge, a subspecialty radiologist can contribute to providing information the clinicians or surgeons are looking for. They have great knowledge about any unusual disease processes in their particular field of expertise, the numerous current treatment trends, the latest literature and research in their specialty, etc.
It is important to have a clear understanding of these nuances because it helps in catching rare or small abnormalities. They also ensure accuracy and curb misdiagnosis. A lack of proper training and knowledge of the radiologist will lead to misdiagnosis after an MRI scan.
Cervical MRI price
The MRI neck price or MRI of the cervical may vary considerably in different locations and facilities. It is governed by the independent and individual diagnosis of a person. MRI neck price can differ due to the extra screening images required in any particular case. If you have a concern over the price of the MRI, talk directly to the facility members about the final cost. When a contrast agent is administered to obtain clearer images, it adds to the cost of the MRI price. On the other hand, insurance coverage provided by companies can also have a bearing on the price you have to pay for an MRI of the neck. So, consider all these factors before getting the scan for peace of mind.
So, we have seen that cervical MRI is a very important diagnostic technique to study and analyze the cervical spine and the adjacent area. With its crystal clear images, cervical MRI can immensely help healthcare providers in making informed decisions on treatment interventions for patients grappling with cervical problems. Since it can generate high-resolution images, cervical MRI is a fantastic tool, helping doctors in diagnosing a string of conditions impacting the cervical spine, which include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or injuries of the spinal cord. The best part is it is a non-invasive modality based on the principles of employing a magnetic field and radio waves to take clear images of the cervical vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and soft tissues in the surrounding area.