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What is an MRI / Myelogram?

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic imaging technique used to produce high quality images of the inside of the human body.   MRI is based on the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), a technique used by scientists to obtain microscopic chemical and physical information about molecules.  The technique was called magnetic resonance imaging rather than nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) because of the negative connotations associated with the word "nuclear."

There are two types of MRIs used today. One is called an open MRI and the other is called a closed MRI. Closed MRIs are generally problematic for people who are claustrophobic. Even if you are not claustrophobic or are being offered an open MRI, the procedure can be disquieting. This examination involves a somewhat long and loud process. The MRI sends magnetic energy through your internal organs and structure to produce detailed pictures of your body. If the patient has metal implants from surgery, this procedure may not be done.

A Myelogram is an x-ray examination of the spinal canal.  A contrast agent is injected through a needle into the space around the spinal cord to display the spinal cord, spinal canal, and nerve roots diagnostically. The purpose of a myelogram is to evaluate the spinal cord and/or nerve roots for suspected compression.  Pressure on these delicate structures causes pain and other symptoms. A myelogram is used when precise detail about the spinal cord is needed to make a definitive diagnosis. A myelogram can help accurately locate herniated discs in the spine.