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Neck MRI Scan

If you are experiencing neck pain, you may be wondering if an MRI scan is the right solution. An MRI scan can assist your doctor in determining the cause of your neck pain and provide you with the best treatment plan. To give you a more comprehensive idea about this topic, we will discuss what to expect during a neck MRI scan and how it can help diagnose your condition.

How Do Neck MRI Scans Work?


A neck MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is a scan that uses strong magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of the cervical spine. This is the portion of the spine that passes through the neck region. MRI does not use ionising radiation, unlike X-rays, so it is considered a safer imaging modality. These scans are typically acquired in the form of thin slices or individual images. It can be viewed like a stack of photos or reformatted in other ways to better visualise specific structures. Neck MRI images can be printed on film or saved electronically on a computer for future review.

Why Might You Need a Neck MRI?


One reason you might need a neck MRI is to get an accurate diagnosis of a medical condition. For example, if you have symptoms like neck pain or stiffness, numbness or tingling in your arms or hands, headache, or problems with balance or walking, your doctor will order an MRI to help find the cause. MRI can also be used to check for issues that might be causing these symptoms, such as a herniated disk, spinal stenosis, or a tumour. In some cases, neck MRI may guide treatment, such as if your doctor needs to place a needle to remove a tissue sample for testing (biopsy).

    How To Prepare for Your Neck MRI?


    No special preparation is needed for an MRI of the neck. When it comes to dressing for your MRI, you should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You don’t need to remove all your clothes, but you will likely need to take off anything that contains metal. Most clothing doesn’t have metal, but it’s best to ask if you’re unsure whether something does. You may be asked to drink water before your MRI, depending on the type of scan being done. This is because some tests, such as those that look at the brain and spine, require you to have a full bladder.

    What To Expect From an MRI Scan of Your Neck

    During the Scan

    When you arrive at the MRI, a technologist will ask for any jewellery or eyeglasses that might be metal. You may also need to remove clothing with fasteners before getting into your gown so it doesn’t get caught on something during scanning. Then, the technologist will step out of the room, and a table with your name on it slides into place. You can see them through an intercom system as they watch over you. Their voice comes directly into each earpiece, so there’s no chance for mistakes or confusion. The MRI machine is a loud and uncomfortable place to be, so you may receive earplugs so that the noise of the scanning isn’t too much for you during a session. If you have any anxiety about the exam, relaxing medication will be offered to you. After the scan is complete, the table slides out, and a staff member helps you off of it. You can then get dressed and leave.

    After the Scan

    After an MRI scan, you can immediately resume your normal activities. There is no need for a healing period or follow-up care. But if you were given medication to help you relax during the scan, you shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery until it has completely worn off. Your MRI results will be given to your doctor, who will share them with you and discuss the next steps, if any. In most cases, no follow-up is needed after a neck MRI. However, if your scan shows a problem that needs treatment, your doctor may refer you to see a specialist or schedule additional testing. For example, if you have a herniated disk, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or surgery. If you have spinal stenosis, you may need to see a neurologist for medication. If you have a mass or tumour, you will likely need additional testing with a biopsy or surgery.

    What Are the Benefits of an MRI Scan of the Neck?


    Just like any other MRI scan, an MRI scan of the neck can provide a wealth of information about the structures in the neck. By knowing the severity of any abnormalities, your doctor can make a more informed decision about the best course of treatment.

    Some of the benefits of an MRI scan of the neck include the following:

        • Accurate diagnosis of conditions affecting the neck: An MRI scan is often ordered when a person is experiencing neck pain or stiffness. The scan can help to identify the cause of the pain, such as a herniated disc or degenerative disease.

        • Ability to see details invisible on other imaging tests: MRI scans use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the neck. This allows doctors to notice even minor abnormalities that may not be visible on other types of imaging tests.

        • No exposure to ionising radiation makes it safe for all patients: Unlike X-rays or CT scans, MRI scans do not use ionising radiation. This makes them a safe choice for patients of all ages, including children and pregnant women.

        • MRI scans are painless and have no known side effects: These scans are completely painless and have no known side effects. This makes them an ideal choice for patients who are unable to tolerate other types of tests.