ZocdocAnswersDoes an MRI show spinal cord injuries?

Question

Does an MRI show spinal cord injuries?

Can it spot a slipped disc?

Answer

The short answer to your question is yes. The two main types of radiology studies that are used to look at the spine are computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. CT scans are most useful for looking for broken bones. They tend to be used in trauma situations, for example after a car accident, to make sure that no breaks have occurred. However, CT scans are less useful for imaging soft tissues, like the spinal cord itself, muscles, discs, and ligaments. The MRI scan is the radiologic study of choice for imaging these soft tissues of the spine and back. Doctors will commonly order an MRI scan if they are trying to diagnose the cause of back pain, weakness, or other similar symptoms. An MRI scan will pick up on things like damage to the spinal cord itself, as well as slipped or bulging discs or pinched nerves in the back. After obtaining the MRI scan results, your doctor will review them carefully and will get back to you with the results. Potential benefits of obtaining an MRI scan could include locating the source of your symptoms of pain or weakness (or whatever other symptom you have) and potentially targeting a treatment to the source. Talk to your doctor for more information.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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