Thoracic spine is the region of the spinal column which is located in the upper back. It stretches all the way from the end of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage. MRI of the thoracic spine may be recommended when patients complain of unrelenting back pain. The results obtained from the scan would allow the physician to make an in-depth evaluation of the region and suggest proper treatment.
MRI – Evaluates the Structure of the Spine
Magnetic resonance imaging can be performed using open or closed MRI diagnostic systems. These days, open MRI modalities are gaining more prominence as they are more patient friendly and convenient. Moreover, they are far clearer and render precise images of the spine which is not possible with traditional X-ray and CT scan.
Radio frequency pulses are emitted during the scan that allows the powerful magnetic field to render a high resolution and detailed picture. There is no radiation or side effects arising from the scan that could adversely affect the health of the patient. MRI of the thoracic spine can prove quite useful in:
- Determining anatomical variations or diseased tissue
- Planning surgery on the spine
- Monitoring changes in the spine after operation
- Ruling out possibilities of bulging, degenerated or herniated disk
- Evaluating the condition of nerves
- Ascertaining other possible causes of pain such as fracture
- Determining the extent of spinal infection or tumor
The procedure may take up to 45 minutes during which multiple sets of images are taken. Upon completion, the physician or radiologist can examine the images either on the monitor or in the form of printed copies.
MRI for Complete Assessment
All that a patient needs to do for MRI of thoracic spine is to lie still and do as instructed by the radiologist. The scan would give a complete assessment of the condition of the disc, soft tissue, nerves, connective tissues, muscles and spinal segment. As the scan is non-invasive, patients feel no pain or discomfort. Patients can return home soon after the scan and benefit from accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for their spinal condition.