Spine MRI: A review of commonly encountered emergent conditions

Aaron Winn, Adam Martin, Ivan Castellon, Allen Sanchez, Efrat Saraf Lavi, Felipe Munera, Diego Nunez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Over the last 2 decades, the proliferation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) availability and continuous improvements in acquisition speeds have led to significantly increased MRI utilization across the health care system, and MRI studies are increasingly ordered in the emergent setting. Depending on the clinical presentation, MRI can yield vital diagnostic information not detectable with other imaging modalities. The aim of this text is to report on the up-to-date indications for MRI of the spine in the ED, and review the various MRI appearances of commonly encountered acute spine pathology, including traumatic injuries, acute non traumatic myelopathy, infection, neoplasia, degenerative disc disease, and postoperative complications. Imaging review will focus on the aspects of the disease process that are not readily resolved with other modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-319
Number of pages29
JournalTopics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • ADEM
  • Abscess
  • Acute
  • Cord infarct
  • Degenerative
  • Demyelinating
  • Disc
  • Emergency
  • Emergent
  • Fracture
  • Hematoma
  • Infection ligamentous injury
  • MRI
  • MS
  • Magnetic resonance
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myelitis
  • Myelopathy
  • Neuromyelitis optica
  • Neurosarcoidosis NMO
  • Parasitic
  • Postoperative
  • Pseudomeningocele
  • Pseudomeningocele
  • Radiculomyelitis
  • Sarcoid
  • Spinal
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Spine toxoplasmosis
  • Trauma
  • Traumatic
  • Tuberculoma
  • Tumor
  • Viral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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