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Full spine MRI scan ??????

jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,340
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Chronic Pain

At last, I am going to have my full spine MRI scan on Monday.

Now I am wondering what to expect.
Please share your experiences.

How long did it take?

Am I likely to be able to ask to take a break between levels if I need to move?
(My first MRI the operator did not have a good manner and when I asked what I should do itf I needed to move, told me very firmly that I must not move at all or she would have to start again. The lady who settled me into the tunnel was much nicer and told me not to worry and press the button if I needed to :-))

I am going to be taking a music CD but have been told that I probably won't be able to hear the music. I have found that in the past, but the last scan I had done on a lovely new machine, I could hear the music and the tunnel was larger. This time I am in a mobile unit again, and I know from experience that this is very small.

Looking forward to hearing how you coped and found this. /:)



  • Howdy Jelly,

    About a year ago I had the full spine done. They did mine in sections - lumbar, thoracic and then cervical. I was asked twice if I needed to move around or hit the ladies room. I am going to guess yours should be similar.

    Lets see, time wise...all in all about an hour and forty minutes is memory serves. I just needed to wiggle around and stretch between sections, so it went a wee faster. I hope that helps - oh, and my neck was last since it was needed with and without contrast.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • I can't believe I am so pleased to finally being getting the whole thing scanned!

    I have felt that the thoracic level should be viewed completely for nearly 18 months. The lower part of thoracic was viewed when my first lumbar scan was done and they said there were three herniations one of which was mildly indenting my cord, over two years ago. Since then my symptoms have been getting worse, so it will be interesting to see what shows up.

    The pain doctor on Tuesday said that he wants to see an up to date scan of my whole spine. My neck has degeneration throughout it, but he is not sure if the symptoms (especially the spasticity) is being caused by my neck or from compression somewhere else.

    If nothing is seen that could be causing all my other neurological problems, he is going to refer me to a neurologist for further tests. He spoke about ruling out MS and said that there were also other very rare conditions that cause some of my symptoms. I wonder if I should be hoping that the problem is coming from my spine rather than a neurological disease!

    I hope that they will do my scan in sections and allow me to move inbetween if I need to. A kind radiographer would be nice!

    Wow, an hour and forty minutes sounds like a long time to lie on my back and not move!!! That is not easy even in my bed with a cervical memory foam pillow. Was that including the with contrast scan? I haven't been told that I will have that, although I have to not eat for 2 hours before in case they have to inject dye.

    Share stories after our respective tests on Monday. :-)
    Good luck with your leg, arm and spine EMG and nerve testing :-)

    >:D< >:D< >:D<

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  • Jelly,

    A brain MRI can be a good tool to see if you have lesions for MS, and or too, evoked potential testing as well.

    From what you've described, the full spine MRI will hopefully yield a lot of answers as to what is and has been causing your pain and other symptoms. I'm glad that they are doing the whole shooting match!!

    My MRI time included the contrast portion. I tend to fall asleep in the tube. My brain scan ....fell asleep there! (G)

    I should know Monday reference MS/ALS etc. From what little I got from the tech thus far, and too my neurological exam last week, MS and the other related neuro nasties are pretty much off the list. :) Myelopathy isn't a thrill either, but it beats having the other nasties! (G)

    The Neurologist is going to do the EMG portion, so I should have a brief "low down" on what the findings are after the test is done. Lets hope we both have answers on Monday!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • I think the only answers I will have on Monday are how long the scan lasted and how it was!

    Here in the UK they won't tell you any results. They have to be sent to the ordering doctor (my neurosurgeon) and then you wait for an appointment to see them.

    Luckily, I already have my appointment to see him on the Tuesday 11th October (your surgery day!! :SS )
  • I had my Thoracic and Lumbar done at the same time, it was about an hour total. That was with no breaks. When they did my cervical earlier in the year it was about 35 minutes, stopping in between pictures.

    The cervical MRI tech was much nicer and was talking to me throughout the whole thing.

    The Thoracic and lumbar tech seemed that he just wanted to get it over quickly, and didn't tell me when sets of pics were started.

    Do you have pain meds and muscle relaxers you can take? Make sure you have a driver if you do. I had my usual vicodin es and I also had valium. It made it easier because it is very hard for me to lay on my back. Maybe the doc can prescribe something for you. Also it helps to bring a sleeping mask. As long as it does not have any metal clips or anything metal on it. It will help so that you don't even know you are in a little tube.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
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  • I don't have muscle relaxers but I can take pain meds to keep me more comfortable.

    In the past, I have just closed my eyes during the scan. It hasn't been so long before though. I may well take an eye mask with me although I would have to put it on before going into the tunnel. I don't think there will be room to move my arms to put it on.

    How are you doing after your ACDF?

  • Good luck to both you Jelly and Brenda!

    Hope you both find out good things afterwards.

    Donnabe..... I too have to take valium to relax. I am claustrophobic for sure. Actually, at my last MRI for my crevical and on my tummy..... I had a hard time laying on that part of my body just for the short time dictated. They rescheduled and gave me the valium and I had a different tech that was the absolute best at getting me ready.

    It sounds like you will do fine as long as you take your muscle relaxers. Just check with your doc.

    Brenda, this is a big surgery coming up for you, eh?

    Best of everything to you both.

  • Jelly,

    Our techs won't say much of anything either, but I can pick up the report 48 hours after the test, and the day of the test I bring the study home on a CD.

    I got my brain scan report, and it is fantastic!!! So looks like Myelopathy wins, and no MS or ALS - whooohoooo!!! :) I compared my chest x-ray to my one just over 2 years ago, and wow, almost 6 weeks without ciggies and boy-o-boy what a difference! Each day I find me thinking about them less and less. I can walk by smokers outside, and don't even bat an eyelash! (G)

    As for the 11th, I have a feeling I will be too out of it to update that night, but most likely will be able to on the 12th. My hubby is going to bring my laptop, but if I am still in zonk mode, he will keep it with him. I know he's worried this go around as he is taking the day off of work, and is going to stay at the hospital until I am out of surgery, and sleep over that night. :)

    The other surgeries I told him to go to work (all under 2 hours), this one, he's not budging. Love that guy.

    So over there, there is no way to get a copy of your report without seeing the referring doctor? Wow, bummer.... I am very glad that you don't have to wait long to find out where you stand. I will keep my fingers crossed for ya woman!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • As my surgeon told my husband, "Don't get me wrong, this is a huge surgery." So I guess so! (G) Jelly and I have spiney appointments or tests on the same days. Too funny! (G)

    I've never had an MRI on my belly. I fall asleep as is in the tube, I can just imagine if they managed to get me on my belly.. Hehehe... not with my neck! Nope! 8>

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi my friend!

    Before my fusion, I had "the works"! Brain, cervical, thoracic and lumbar MRI's. 2 sections were also with contast, so it totaled 6 scans.

    Initially I wanted some sedation as it was so involved and I had it scheduled in 2 parts.

    But I got there early, 7:30 on a cold, rainy winter morning. Luckily there wasn't anyone else scheduled right after me. I ended up having it all done one after another without sedation.

    If you have contrast they will bring you out of the tube to inject the dye. They also should give you a button to push if needed so they can stop and bring you out. Insist on that! :)

    They should put support under your knees. If you are having your brain scanned they will put your head in a type of "cage" that is a little spooky... but harmless. :)

    Having gone thru MS testing 4 different times, it is very rare that it is initially presents or is suspected after childbearing years......it typically first rears its ugly head during the child birthing years. And, if you have it, you would expect that you'd have had symptoms after your fusion as it is pysical and emotional stress that cause the symptoms to manifest usually. I hope this is comforting. I know how scarey the thought of these diseases can be! I really do! Gentle, cyber hug!!

    I would definitely bring your CD with music. It can't hurt and could really help. I always try to go to my "happy place" during these tests. For me, that is the beach. I try to visualize the waves and the peacefulness.

    Oh, Jelly! It makes me so sad that we are still having issues! I am still home following my surgery.
    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. If you feel up to it, Facebook me and we can chat before and or after your scans.

    I would definitely take your pain meds before your scan. I'd bring some along to take after too in case you need it. Ice following might be benefitial also!

    Maybe plan to have leftovers or take home dinner so you can just rest and ice!

    I miss you my dear! Wishing you the very best!!
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