"Because of the many different ways to gather this important information, MRI can be used to identify or display almost every type of spinal tissue or pathology. The imaging sequence can be modified to meet many different clinical needs," Dr. Victor M. Haughton, a radiologist at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, says in the article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
The authors write that MRI-which is considered safe, fast and versatile-is being used in several spinal applications like intervertebral disk and facet joint degeneration, spinal canal stenosis, vascular disorders, and trauma.
They also suggest it to be useful for almost every spinal pathology-such as diseases of the spinal cord, nerve roots, vertebrae, disks and blood vessels.
They further say that there is no radiation risk to the patient undergoing MRI.
"The possibilities of magnetic resonance have not yet been realized. It is a rapidly evolving field. When we need tools to identify a possible herniated disk, the simplest type of MR imaging or CT imaging can be used successfully. However, if you want to find out which disk is causing pain, which nerve is firing, which metabolites are present in abnormal amounts, or how well the spinal elements are functioning, MR will provide the answers," adds Dr. Haughton.