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How often is an mri required?

tammycttammyc Posts: 894
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Lower Back Pain
I"ve had lower back pain for years.When i was seeing a surgeon for neck problems he wouldn't look at an mri that was older then a year,he said that it was too old.Also my therapist said that any trauma that happens after an mri should render that one useless because there could be more damage done.However the last neurologist that i saw looked at my mri that was over a year old and refused to do a new one even though i had many new symptoms. Does it matter how old an mri is?


  • Tammy,

    There is no really set time frame for a new MRI. However if your symptoms are changing and it has been a year sense the last one, then it might be time for a new one. I hope in your case though they are at least doing those with contrast, so they can get a really good look. I just went through this last week and my surgeon after x-rays said a traditional MRI would be useless, and went for the myelogram followed by CT.
  • I believe it does matter how old an MRI is. I agree with your therapist that a new MRI is warranted a year later, especially if you've experienced a new trauma and/or new pain, which you have.

    Your last neuro visit was a bust and you didn't trust him anyway, so I'd be on a search for another spine surgeon who you do trust. That one should order his own set of MRIs and maybe even a CT scan to see where this new pain is coming from.

    Just my two cents, for what it's worth.

  • If they feel there is no significant change by your described sympoms at the time of your dr visit other then whats been already noted even if some newer symptoms you might have brought up that they dont feel warrants a new mri because there has not been any further extreme change like a fall, recent car crash and such that ended you up in er,

    Many times they feel because of this reason mri would be nothing but a waste of time and money, Some changes in pain patern they know wont always change anything and even if there is a slight change on the mri it wont be adressed with surgery at this time with the symptoms they were given,

    Thats the only reason i could think they would not want another mri,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    the time period is not important, it depends on what your current condition is.

    If you are experiencing new problems or flare ups of existing one, then perhaps a MRI may be warranted.
    But that is something only your doctor will be able to justify.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • This is something that is on my mind these days, as it's over a year since my last MRIs were done. As others have said, it depends a lot on whether there are any new symptoms or worsening in your condition, as well as the opinion of the individual doctor. Some doctors don't like to be handed old (i.e. more than one year old) scans, I've found.

    I have had a doctor tell me he didn't think a new MRI was really necessary a year or so after my last one, but the other doctor I was consulting in the US (for a second opinion) said it was important to have the very latest information to base treatment decisions on. I had the new MRI done, and it showed some significant new developments in my spine. I suppose it's hard to say for sure whether it's necessary until you actually have it done.
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