MRI of the thoracic spine


The abbreviation MRT stands for Magnetic resonance tomography and is an important tool for diagnostics in medicine.

The way an MRI works is based on the fact that there are many so-called Protons are located. These are individual hydrogen molecules that are diffusely distributed throughout the body.

An MRI can convert these protons into a certain direction be deflected by a magnetic impulse is set, hence the name magnetic resonance tomography.
This then creates a Sectional view, similar to one Computer tomograph (CT).

For more information on how the MRI works, check out our main article: MRI

This means that the Thoracic spine in section can represent or also in Longitudinal section in order to be able to show the complete course of the thoracic spine better.

An MRI offers many advantages. For one, the MRI no radiation exposure. This is a distinct advantage over that roentgen or the CT.
However, this is MRI very slowly Compared to CT, and MRI cannot examine patients who have a Pacemaker or other magnetically active components such as wearing metal plates in their body after a break.

Procedure and duration of an MRI of the ESPE

For an MRI scan, the patient is positioned on a mobile couch.

Of the Procedure for an MRI scan is not always the same as it different shapes the MRI images are there.
Basically, first of all, one before the examination of the thoracic spine using MRI at least Take off your tops and your bra must, as these could become disruptive factors.

The patient is then placed on a mobile couch positioned. The patient can now be driven into the MRT "tube" using this couch.
What is important is that the patient himself do not move during the examination may as this could also lead to disruptive factors.
In some practices, the patient can therefore during the examination listen to musicrunning through a loudspeaker.

The Duration one MRI scan of the thoracic spine lasts about 20-30 minutes. During the ongoing MRI scan, it occurs due to the physical occurrences plus that by switching the tube on and off again and again Knocking noises could arise. These should be the patient don't be unsettling as this completely normal and unfortunately it is unavoidable.

It is important to know that you are doing the investigation cancel anytime can. Most of the time, patients receive one bellwith the help of which you can signal that you want to interrupt the investigation. In addition, however, the patients also stand the entire time with the examining doctor, the Radiologists, in connection.

So should the patient because of the duration or something else get uncomfortableso can the investigation always canceled but the results are then mostly no longer usable.

Does a patient know that he is due to Claustrophobia (For more information, read our topic Implementing a MRI for claustrophobia) or otherwise the examination in the MRI not without fears endures, the patient can also have a light sedative, e.g. Dormicum receive.
This does not affect the examinations in any way, but ensures that the patient remains during the examination lie quietly can without feeling uncomfortable.
Since the patient afterwards however don't drive a car should, most patients forego this measure.

MRI: What do you see in the pictures?

To use MRI In order to be able to make a diagnosis, one must first be aware of what one can see in the MRI and, above all, what in the area of ​​the Thoracic spine can be determined using MRI.

The general rule is that one Using MRI to show mainly soft tissues can which one just difficult by means of Computed Tomography or roentgen can recognize.
Worse to see are however the bony structures or Calcifications. Calcifications are particularly important in vascular surgery, as this is where you can tell whether a Vessel calcium deposits (med. arteriosclerosis) and may therefore be restricted.
Also read our main article on the subject of limescale deposits: arteriosclerosis

If an MRI image of the thoracic spine is made, you can see the bony structures like Ribs or Vertebral bodies not very precise, but the spinal cord and intervertebral discs are all the better.

That's why at Suspected breaks (Fractures) rather a CT or an X-ray made, and also common among the elderly Reduction of Bone density (so-called osteoporosis) will mostly by means of a X-ray diagnosed, since this is an event which exclusively from bone goes out.

Malformations, on the other hand, such as scoliosis, can also be determined using MRI of the thoracic spine, as changes also occur in the soft tissue. However, these can just as well be determined by means of X-rays, which is due to the higher MRI costs is usually also done.

But if you want one Herniated disc of the thoracic spine exclude or one tumor diagnose in the corresponding area, is used as Method of choice a MRI image the thoracic spine.

There are different indications why the doctor gives one MRI of the thoracic spine can cause.
Below we have them for you most relevant clinical pictures put together in which a MRI scan advisable can be.

Contrast media for MRI examinations

A MRI of the Thoracic spine can optionally with or without Administration of contrast medium be made.

As the name suggests, this is used to To clarify contrasts. Here it is especially important to know what exactly should be examined on the thoracic spine.

If only the Band washers be examined, so must too no contrast agent in the vein be injected, as these can always be easily recognized in the MRI even without additional contrasting.
However, the patient has Previous operations in the thoracic spine, it may be useful to have one MRI with contrast agent to be able to differentiate between old scar tissue and possible fresh changes.

The MRI of the thoracic spine is used for Exclusion of tumors or inflammationso must the MRI with contrast agent be made so that the inflamed or tumorous areas also recognized for sure become.

Since the Band washers As already mentioned always easily recognizable will have an MRI of the thoracic spine mostly without contrast media made.

Is this unsatisfactory or if there is nothing in the corresponding picture that could explain the patient's symptoms, the patient must possibly again then get an MRI of the thoracic spine, however with contrast agent.
In general, however, the administration of contrast medium in an MRI of the thoracic spine rather seldom.

MRI for a slipped disc of the thoracic spine

At Suspicion of one disc prolapse in the Thoracic spine the doctor can arrange an examination using an MRI.

With the help of Cross-sectional images of the thoracic spine can be accurately diagnosed, where exactly the herniated disc is located.
General are herniated discs in the thoracic spine very rare, nevertheless they do occur and can then get the patient through from time to time severe pain in the back and chest torment.
An MRI of the ESPE can now be used to determine where the Back pain originate and what the exact cause is.

X-rays are not suitable here as they are mainly the bone represent, but not the soft mass of the Intervertebral disc.
As already mentioned, herniated discs in the thoracic spine area are rather rare, they usually occur in the area of ​​the Lumbar spine on.

However, it can also be that the pain at the level of the thoracic spine is caused by a so-called Lumbago to be triggered. This also occurs more in the lumbar spine area and less often in the thoracic spine area. A lumbago is no indication for an examination by means of MRI as this is a Muscle spasms which can neither be represented by MRI nor by X-rays.

For more information on the subject "Herniated discs in the thoracic spine area" also read our main article: Herniated disc of the thoracic spine

A Inflammation of the disc space (Spondylodiscitis) can also by MRI can be determined, since this is also the Assessment of the soft disc and not the assessment of bone structures.

Please also read our special topic: MRI for a herniated disc

MRI for rib pain / pain in the costal arch

Also the Ribs, which is at the Thoracic spine are located on a MRI well representable. In a cross-sectional view, they form the external limitation of the chest organs, how heart and Lungs.
In order to show the heart or lungs well, however, a special MRI of the heart or the lungs must be made, since the heart is constantly moving and the lungs should be filled with helium through the air filling for better Contrasting to reach.
Please also read our topics:

  • MRI of the heart
  • MRI of the lungs

If the pain in the thoracic spine is more localized on the ribs, then usually no MRI made, here one simple x-ray sufficient.

You could also use the MRI Fractions or Bruises recognize, but also here the X-ray is more suitable because it is on the one hand present in every hospital is and on the other faster than the MRI the thoracic spine.
Still, it's important to know that the Disc herniation pain in the thoracic spine area radiate along the ribs (costal arch) can, because here the Costal nerve (Intercostal nerve) runs.

Whether at Rib pain Whether or not an MRI or thoracic spine x-ray is done depends on the doctor being examined and the capacities of the hospital.
However, it is important that if a herniated disc is suspected In any case, an MRI should be done as this is the Recognize intervertebral discs better can, and thus also sees exactly where the intervertebral disc has loosened and that Spinal cord constricts.

MRI for whiplash

Even with one Whiplash, for example after a car accident, it is important to pay attention to what structures the thoracic spine one wants to examine.

The doctor would like Information about the spinal cord and rule out bleeding in this area, a MRI of the thoracic spine made. An MRI of the thoracic spine in the case of whiplash is rather rare.

However, if the doctor wants to assess whether one of the bones of the thoracic spine is broken, one is suitable X-ray or even better a CT scan the thoracic spine.

MRI for multiple sclerosis (MS)

Also Multiple sclerosis-Patients (short MS patients) should especially if you have complaints regular MRIs of the cervical and thoracic spine receive.
Usually it occurs with multiple sclerosis especially in the brain to stove-shaped Lesions (Injuries) in which the Nerve fibers inflammatory demyelinated become.

These so-called MS herd however, it can also occur in the cervical and thoracic spine, which then leads to Failures in the arm and / or legs and / or various organs such as bladder or anus can lead.
Should in an MS patient, for example Voiding disorders occur so should absolutely an MRI of the thoracic spine can be done, as one can use MRI to assess whether there are small foci of inflammation in the thoracic spine area.

You can find a lot more information on this topic at: MRI in MS

MRI for tumors

The MRI can show soft structures particularly well.

A MRI of the Thoracic spine is also done when the doctor the Spinal cord of the patient take a closer look would like to. In the spinal cord it can besides chronic spinal cord damage and inflammation too Tumor formations come, which constrict the spinal cord.

This Tumors in the thoracic spine area become preferably with an MRI shown.
It usually causes a tumor in the spinal cord area of ​​the thoracic spine symptoms similar to a herniated disc. It is therefore important to order an MRI scan, as an MRI can see whether the patient has a tumor in the thoracic spine or not.

But not only from the spinal cord, also from the bone marrow tumors can start.
A bone marrow tumor in the thoracic spine can mainly be assessed using MRI.

Often such tumors are Bone marrow metastaseswhich, for example, after irradiation after a Breast tumor (Breast cancer) can occur in the thoracic spine area.
In the MRI you can see these tumors now recognize exactly and judge.

MRI costs

For many patients another important factor is the question of who Cost one MRIs the thoracic spine.
These of course depend on the respective executing institute from.

In general, however, it should be noted that an MRI of the thoracic spine, if it from a medical point of view has a medical relevance, covered by the health insurance becomes.

However, if the patient wants an MRI of the thoracic spine without a doctor's recommendationso he has to costs for the MRI take over.
These amount to about 500 €if additionally Contrast media should be used to better depict the abdominal organs or blood vessels, the costs of an MRI of the thoracic spine and the surrounding structures add up to about 700 €.

You can find more detailed information on the subject of costs at: Cost of an MRI examination

Illustration of the thoracic spine

Image of the thoracic spine: A - from the left and B - from the front

Thoracic spine (green)

  1. First cervical vertebra (carrier) -
  2. Second cervical vertebra (turner) -
  3. Seventh cervical vertebra -
    Vertebra prominent
  4. First thoracic vertebra -
    Vertebra thoracica I
  5. Twelfth thoracic vertebra -
    Vertebra thoracica XII
  6. First lumbar vertebra -
    Vertebra lumbalis I
  7. Fifth lumbar vertebra -
    Vertebra lumbalis V
  8. Lumbar cruciate ligament kink -
  9. Sacrum - Sacrum
  10. Tailbone - Os coccygis

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations