The value of magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography in the study of spinal disorders
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AuthorRuiz Santiago, Fernando; Láinez Ramos-Bossini, Antonio Jesús; Martínez Barbero, José Pablo; García Espinosa, Jade; Martínez Martínez, Alberto
SpineComputed tomography (CT)Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)Back painSpinal disorderSpinal diseasesOsteoporotic fracture
Ruiz Santiago F... [et al.]. The value of magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography in the study of spinal disorders. Quant Imaging Med Surg 2022. doi: [10.21037/qims-2022-04]
Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have replaced conventional radiography in the study of many spinal conditions, it is essential to know when these techniques are indicated instead of or as complementary tests to radiography, which findings can be expected in different clinical settings, and their significance in the diagnosis of different spinal conditions. Proper use of CT and MRI in spinal disorders may facilitate diagnosis and management of spinal conditions. An adequate clinical approach, a good understanding of the pathological manifestations demonstrated by these imaging techniques and a comprehensive report based on a universally accepted nomenclature represent the indispensable tools to improve the diagnostic approach and the decision-making process in patients with spinal pain. Several guidelines are available to assist clinicians in ordering appropriate imaging techniques to achieve an accurate diagnosis and to ensure appropriate medical care that meets the efficacy and safety needs of patients. This article reviews the clinical indications of CT and MRI in different pathologic conditions affecting the spine, including congenital, traumatic, degenerative, inflammatory, infectious and tumor disorders, as well as their main imaging features. It is intended to be a pictorial guide to clinicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal disorders.