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    MRI Lumbar Spine

    The basic principles of the MRI scan of the lumbar spine.

    MRI Lumbar Spine
    Radiology Expert
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    The MRI technique will be briefly explained. For further depth and background information, it is recommended to refer to the MRI technique module.

    A standard examination of the lumbar spine consists of series in sagittal and transverse (axial) directions. A coronal series can be obtained on indication (this series will not be further discussed in the current module). When interpreting MRI examinations, we do not use 'white' or 'black', but 'signal intensity'. Signal intensity is further expressed as low signal intensity ('black' or 'dark gray'), intermediate signal intensity ('gray shade'), and high signal intensity ('white' or 'light gray'). For completeness, in the case of intermediate signal intensity, it is sometimes additionally mentioned in the report which tissue has been used as a reference. For example, in MRI examinations of the musculoskeletal system, muscle tissue is often used as a reference, with something having intermediate signal intensity if it has a comparable 'gray shade' as muscle tissue. With sufficient difference in signal intensity, it is possible to distinguish between two adjacent areas/tissues. The created image contrast allows us to recognize both anatomical structures and pathology on an MRI scan.

    Overview of commonly used MRI sequences (sequence = 'series') for the spine:


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    Literature: sources and author


    drs. A. van der Plas (MSK radiologist Maastricht UMC+)

    With special thanks to:
    dr. W. Henneman (neuroradiologist Maastricht UMC+)


    drs. A. van der Plas (MSK radiologist Maastricht UMC+)


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