Preparing for your First Spinal MRI

spinal mri

Preparing for your First Spinal MRI

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans are frequently used to help doctors and surgeons diagnose spinal conditions and injuries. An MRI scan can provide your physician with valuable information about what’s causing your back pain – whether it be a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or a vertebral fracture – and how to treat it. But MRIs can be scary for patients who are claustrophobic or those who have never had a scan before. This article will act as a sort of beginner’s guide to spinal MRI scans by providing a few tips and tricks to help you prepare for your MRI.

MRI Types

There are several different types of MRI machines, each built for different purposes. Here is a quick break down of each:

  • Traditional MRI. The baseline machine that most people picture when they think about MRIs.
  • Open Upright MRI. This MRI allows the patient to sit or stand during the scan (rather than lying down). Patients with disabilities, or those who suffer from claustrophobia can benefit from this machine.
  • Wide-Bore MRI. This is quite similar to the traditional MRI. The difference is in the width of the opening – which is much larger with wide-bore MRIs. These machines are beneficial for obese patients who may not fit comfortably in a traditional machine.

Preparing for your MRI

Your doctor will go through the basics of what to expect during your MRI scan, and how you can specifically prepare. In general, an MRI scan can last anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes depending on the bodily area being scanned. MRI scans are completely painless, but they can be quite loud. Additionally, many MRI machines do not offer a lot of room. If you suffer from claustrophobia, be sure to talk with your doctor before your scan so you can take appropriate precautions.

If your MRI scan reveals a spinal injury or degenerative condition that necessitates surgery, consider an Inspired Spine procedure. The Inspired OLLIF and Inspired MIS-DTIF have been designed specifically to give patients the least painful surgical experience possible. Contact us to find out if you are a good candidate for Inspired Spine surgery, or find a provider near you with our interactive tool.



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