What to expect from an MRI for a slipped disc
Slipped disc MRI
If you are experiencing symptoms of a slipped disc, a nonmedical term often used to describe a herniated disc, your physician may order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI. In some cases, a simple physical examination, medical history evaluation and neurological exam are all that is necessary for your physician to make a diagnosis. However, because symptoms of slipped discs can be similar to those of other neck and back conditions, your physician may find it necessary to issue a slipped disc MRI in order to see the location of the herniated disc and identify the effected nerves.
Receiving an MRI and what to expect
An MRI uses a magnetic field and a radio frequency pulse to make two-dimensional image “slices” of organs, tendons, ligaments, bone and other structures within the body. These images allow your physician to see the exact location of a herniated disc, bulging disc, bone spurs and other degeneration in the spinal column.
Before the MRI test, you will be asked to remove all metal objects and medicine patches from your body. You may be ineligible for an MRI if you have a pacemaker, have an IUD or work around metal. Your physician can fully discuss any risks of an MRI with you.
During the test, you will lie on your back on a retractable platform that enters the center of the MRI machine, which often resembles a long tube. The test takes about an hour to complete and you will be required to remain still the entire time, so you may consider taking a sedative if you are prone to claustrophobia. Additionally, you may be alone in the scanner room for certain periods of time, but the technician will watch you through a window and you will be able to communicate through a two-way intercom. The slipped disc MRI will not cause any pain, but you may experience discomfort from lying in the same position for a prolonged period of time.
MRI results and slipped disc treatment
After you and your physician receive your slipped disc MRI results, your physician may recommend slipped disc surgery as a treatment option. If that’s the case, the good news is that there are less-invasive options to traditional open back surgery. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to open neck or back surgery.^ Our procedures are designed to help people find relief from their slipped disc symptoms. Our surgeries are performed with less damage to muscles and tissues, so recovery time is quicker than that of traditional back surgery.^