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Low- vs. high-field MRI: 5 key notes on spine diagnosis Featured

Written by  Laura Dyrda | Tuesday, 17 March 2015 00:00
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Is a low-field MRI or high-field MRI better for diagnosing degenerative diseases of the lumbar spine?

A new study published in Spine compares the two. There were 100 patients participating in the study with either neurogenic claudication or sciatica. The patients underwent MRI on both low- and high-field systems.

 

Two radiologists evaluated both low- and high-field systems. The researchers found:

 

1. The radiologist reported "excellent agreement" between both low- and high-field MRI when grading:

 

• Disc herniation presence and severity
• Central canal stenosis
• Lateral recess stenosis
• Exit foramen stenosis

 

2. There were 52 percent of the patients who reported descending or exiting nerve root compression at these levels:

 

• L3-L4
• L4-L5
• L5-S1

 

3. The radiologists also had good agreement between both low- and high-field MRI for the nerve root compression reporting.

 

4. The 0.25T MRI was more susceptible to motion artifact, likely because there is a longer scanning time.

 

5. The researchers concluded "excellent reliability between low- and high-field MRI was found for most features of lumbar disc degeneration with good agreement for nerve root compression."

 

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