If your doctor believes that you have experienced an annular tear, an MRI may be required to confirm the diagnosis. In most cases, the patient is referred to an imaging center where the test is completed upon appointment. An MRI, or magnetic resonance imagery, is an advanced imaging device that provides doctors with 2D and 3D views of the soft tissue in the body. MRI imaging makes identification of the cause, severity and location of spine degeneration, such as an annular tear, more precise than ever before.
What to Expect
Here is what a patient can expect during an annular tear MRI:
- The patient is instructed to remove all metallic items and the doctor will double check to make sure that the patient has not received any surgical hardware or a pacemaker that is not safe for MRI use.
- Occasionally, the patient will be injected with an intravenous dye before the MRI to increase the contrast between similar tissues
- During the scan, the patient lies down on their back and their head is stabilized.
- The patient will be instructed to remain completely motionless throughout the scan.
- The patient is put into the MRI scan, which resembles a big tube, and the magnets are turned on by the technician.
- The technician, who is in another room behind glass, begins the MRI scan and can communicate with the patient with a microphone..
- Sometimes the patient will use earplugs to drown out the sound of the magnets.
- MRI scans usually take between 30-60 minutes and are completely painless.
Like a CT scan or an X-ray, an MRI is an excellent diagnostic tool that has a number of applications. MRI is much better at imaging soft, water-containing structures than CT scan or conventional X-rays. This makes an MRI better for diagnosing an annular tear. MRI scans produce images on multiple planes in grayscale. These images clearly show the relationship between vertebrae, intervertebral discs, facet joints, supporting musculature and other aspects of the spinal anatomy, which make achieving an annular tear diagnosis more precise than with other non-invasive tests.
To request a complimentary review of your annular tear MRI and to learn about minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today.