Important Preparation for a Cervical Spine MRI

February 23, 2017 – 3 min read

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If your doctor has ordered a cervical spine MRI, you probably have a lot of questions. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, which is a common and safe procedure that uses magnets and radio waves to produce pictures for your doctor to help diagnose and treat pain you may be experiencing in your neck and cervical spine (the portion of the spine that runs through your neck.)

What can a Cervical Spine MRI Show?

Cervical spine MRIs are commonly ordered for patients who are experiencing neck pain that hasn’t gotten better with other treatments, or that is accompanied by weakness or numbness.

The images produced as a result of your cervical spine MRI may help your doctor identify if you have a herniated disc (also called a bulging disc), cancers or tumors in the bones or soft tissues of your cervical spine, joint disorders or bone abnormalities such as scoliosis (curvature) of the spine, or aneurysms, or other types of vascular disorders.


Preparing for Your Cervical Spine MRI

If your doctor provides specific instructions, it’s important to follow those. Sometimes, patients will be instructed not to eat or drink anything for a period of time prior to an MRI.

Talk to Your Doctor Before You Schedule an MRI

For patients with diabetes or kidney problems, and patients who are in the first trimester of pregnancy, make sure your doctor knows about your condition. Additional testing may be needed, or your doctor may wish to postpone the MRI.

If you have any type of metal implant in your body, be sure your doctor is aware of them, as an MRI may not be a safe procedure.

Finally, if you suffer from anxiety or a fear of being in enclosed spaces, your doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication or anesthesia to make you more comfortable during your MRI.

On the Day of Your MRI

When you arrive for your procedure, you’ll be asked to remove any metal jewelry and clothing that contains metal. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown.

Sometimes, MRI procedures involve contrast dye. If that’s the case, you may be given the dye intravenously before the procedure.

You’ll be asked to lie down on a table, and it’s important that you remain as still as possible. The MRI technician will help you get comfortable.

For a cervical spine MRI, a coil will be placed around your neck and head to help focus the machine’s energy in the right spot to produce the best images possible.

The procedure itself should be completely painless and shouldn’t take more than 30-45 minutes.

After the Procedure

The images produced during your cervical spine MRI will be read by a radiologist and shared with your doctor so he/she can determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you.


Call AHI to Schedule Your Cervical Spine MRI

At American Health Imaging, our personnel are highly-trained and we use the same type of high-quality equipment hospitals and clinics use for cervical spine MRI procedures. The difference is that we are able to offer MRIs and CT scans at a much lower cost to patients.

With 18 locations across four states (Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Texas), we offer convenience and a professional, compassionate experience. To learn more, and to schedule your cervical spine MRI today, contact us online today or call us at (855) MRI-CHOICE.