MRI L-Spine - Sagittal T2 - Normal

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Sagittal T2 - Normal

  • The normal intervertebral discs appear slightly brighter than the bone marrow of the adjacent vertebral bodies
  • The spinal canal is filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which appears bright on T2 images
  • Within the CSF the normal roots of the cauda equina are visible

MRI L-Spine - Sagittal T2 - Nerve root compression

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Sagittal T2 - Nerve root compression

  • The L3/4 intervertebral disc appears normal
  • The L4/5 and L5/S1 discs have lost their normal internal fluid signal
  • They have lost height and are bulging posteriorly
  • These disc bulges are narrowing the spinal canal and at L4/5 the caudal roots are compressed
  • Note: This patient had clinical features of acute cauda equina syndrome – a neurosurgical emergency

MRI L-spine - Axial T2 - Nerve root compression - Normal v abnormal

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Axial T2 - Nerve root compression - Normal v abnormal

  • Nerve root compression is often best seen in the axial plane
  • The abnormal example shows the typical features of posterior disc bulging with compression of the nerve roots in a patient suffering from left-sided sciatica
  • Note: Disc ‘protrusion’ and ‘bulging’ are synonymous terms – ‘slipped disc’ is an inaccurate term and is not used