View Full Version : Should MRI be of Full Spine?

02-26-2013, 09:53 AM
I just found out that the doctor ordered a MRI of just my son's Lumbar. I assumed the MRI would have been for the full spine, espeically since he is recommending surgery and he has two curves. Haven't been able to find much on the net about full vs half. What is the norm?

Wish the book I ordred would get here so I can have all my answers, lol


02-26-2013, 11:11 AM
Just sent an email to his doctor. I just didn't want to bother them with a "dumb" question that is all.

02-26-2013, 12:19 PM

I think they usually order it in kids to look at the spinal cord, so there's no need to see the lumbar spine.


02-26-2013, 05:12 PM
Does it matter where we get the MRI technically? According to my insurance I can go to the Hospital where the doctor would do the procedure or to an outside unit very close to my house. Are they all the same technically?

02-26-2013, 08:33 PM
Hi there,

MRI's vary a lot in resolution quality. You can call and politely (but firmly if necessary) ask how many Tesla (T) the scanner that your son would go into is. 3 T is great, many are 1.5 which is apparently fine but I would of course choose the higher one if given the choice. I wouldn't put him into one that is less than 1.5, as are many open MRI's especially.

Has your son had an MRI before? They can be very claustrophobic and not pleasant, and he should definitely be prepped for this beforehand. He will be laying perfectly still in a very closed-in, small, noisy tube where he will enter head first. The full-spine MRI (which is what you want, not just the lumbar BTW), can take over an hour, so you should determine ahead of time how he will feel about being in that claustrophobic tube for so long. Many people need/benefit from an oral anti-anxiety pill (Valium, Ativan, Xanax are examples) taken an hour or so before the procedure. You want the MRI to be a non-event for him since he has surgery in his future. You want him to head into the hospital with as relaxed and accepting attitude as possible, so it is really important that he doesn't get scared or traumatized by the MRI. I think a lot of doctors forget this fact and just send people off to the MRI without a second thought.

Best of luck,

02-27-2013, 01:19 AM
I have done about 5 MRI’s through the years....and never had any problems other than it being uncomfortable laying on the hard surface. Propping up the knees will help with this.The noises remind me of organ notes, like someone hitting single note keys, or chords. These noises are the magnets revolving around the ring....

Laying in the tube with the noise reminds me of a futuristic sci-fi film. Like being transported....Scotty, beam me up! (smiley face) or like in the movie 2010 when the astronauts where knocked out in the tube bed for long flights to Jupiter. When you close your eyes, there are no claustrophobic feelings.

Usually when doing an MRI or CT, the operator will brake in on the headphones and comment, “Wow, you have a quite a scoliosis”. I have heard this a few times. I also had an x-ray after my scoli surgeries from an emergency room physician who commented “Nice rack” Who did that?

Shorter or specific areas of the spine would naturally take less time than a full MRI, and also be cheaper.....These diagnostics are expensive since the machine I had my full in cost almost $5 million dollars. This investment requires serious financial return, and depreciation happens quickly.....

If anyone remembers the Beatles, their success in the late 1960’s contributed to EMI, their record company, in investing in the first prototype MRI or CT machinery in England around 1971.
So, we all have to thank John, Paul, George, and Ringo.


02-27-2013, 01:01 PM
The hospital said they have both a 1.5T and 3T MRI machine and that based on the script of what the doctor is looking for, Radiology will choose the machine. They said our doctor likes they was they do it.