What is the role of MRI in the workup of cervical spondylosis?

Updated: Nov 09, 2018
  • Author: Sandeep S Rana, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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MRI is a noninvasive and radiation-free procedure that provides excellent imaging of the spinal cord and subarachnoid space and is a sensitive method for determining involvement of these by extradural pathology. MRI allows multiplanar imaging, excellent imaging of the neural elements, and increased accuracy in diagnosing intrinsic cord disease. It may detect pathology in the asymptomatic patient, or the pathology may be unrelated to the symptoms. In one report, 57% of patients who were older than 64 years had disk bulging and 26% of patients in this age group had evidence of cord compression on MRIs. [25] Some spondylotic changes (eg, small lateral osteophytes, midbody calcific densities) may be overlooked by MRI.

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