Which imaging studies are performed in the workup of spinal cord injury (SCI)?

Updated: Nov 01, 2018
  • Author: Lawrence S Chin, MD, FACS, FAANS; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
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Imaging techniques in spinal cord injury include the following:

  • Plain radiography - Radiographs are only as good as the first and last vertebrae seen, therefore, radiographs must adequately depict all vertebrae

  • Computed tomography (CT) scanning - Reserved for delineating bony abnormalities or fracture; can be used when plain radiography is inadequate or fails to visualize segments of the axial skeleton

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - Used for suspected spinal cord lesions, ligamentous injuries, and other soft-tissue injuries or pathology

See Workup for more detail.

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