MRI of the neck

How is an MRI of the neck performed specifically? MRI scans are used to identify the precise causes of a variety of pains that do not subside despite the use of various treatments.

MRI of the neck

The following are the key details about neck MRI that are covered in this article:

MRI of the neck

A neck MRI uses a magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to create precise images of the bones at the back of the neck by imaging the cervical spine painlessly and safely.

MRI avoids exposure to harmful ionising radiation because it does not use radiation or x-rays, in contrast to computed tomography (CT scan).

The spinal cord, vertebrae, and surrounding tissues can all be examined by the doctor using MRI technology.

Reasons for performing an MRI of the neck

The spinal cord MRI includes an examination of the neck because the location of the spinal cord to be imaged depends on the patient's symptoms. This examination aims to assess and identify the following:

  • Spinal anatomy.
  • Diagnosis of spinal stenosis .
  • diagnosis of cervical spine herniated disc.
  • birth defects in the required region of the spinal cord or vertebrae.
  • an infection in the cervical spine or close by.
  • spinal cord, vertebral, nerve, and surrounding tissue cancers and tumours.
  • injuries and bruises to the spinal cord, muscles, bones, or ligaments.
  • diagnosis of spinal cord or nerve compression or inflammation.
  • Diagnosis of meningitis .
  • After surgery, keep an eye on any changes in the spinal cord.

Preparing for an MRI of the neck 

To prepare for a neck MRI, follow these guidelines:

  • If you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, let the doctor know.
  • Describe your claustrophobia to the doctor.
  • Remove any metallic items you are wearing before shooting, including jewellery, accessories, credit cards, hearing aids, hairpins, and zippers.
  • If you have had dental fillings, pacemakers, medication and insulin pumps, or cochlear implants, let your doctor know.
  • Tell your doctor if you have metal or shrapnel in your body, have recently had surgery or have had joints or prostheses, and if you have tattoos. Metal may be present in some inks.
  • Unless otherwise instructed, take your medications and meals as usual.

Warnings about having an MRI scan

An MRI of the neck, spinal cord, or another area of the body may reveal any of the following:

  1. You will remain alone in the imaging room and the technician will be able to see, hear and speak to you at any time using two-way communication. 
  2. During the exam, you will lie on a table that slides into a tunnel-shaped machine, and the exam may take a long time.
  3. The device makes a lot of noise while filming, so the technologist may offer to wear earplugs.
  4. You will be asked to remain still and still in the photographic position during the recording of the images, which usually take from seconds to a few minutes. You may relax between images, but you will be asked to maintain your position as much as possible.
  5. In some cases, the patient may be injected with a contrast dye, usually gadolinium, which rarely causes allergic reactions, but intravenous administration of it may cause some discomfort and bruising. If you have allergic symptoms, tell the technician to get immediate help.

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