Radiology/Lower back MRI


My 46 yr old wife has stage 4 breast cancer due to solitary metastasis in the brain. She had surgery last June to have it removed, then a small brain tumor treatd with cyberknife in December. Otherwise, she had no evidence of disease in her body. Lately she complained of pain in buttocks, as well as down left leg and in foot. A bone scan came back clean, but now the oncologist wants to do a lower back MRI. He told her it was to rule out other things, but the nurse who set up the appointment said it was to check for a tumor on the spine. Can MRI's show spinal tumors that a bone scan might miss? Thank you

Yes, Craig.

I don't know a whole lot about Nuclear Medicine, but I believe the isotope they inject for a bone scan attaches only to bone. A bone scan does not show soft tissue.

An MRI is the best imaging modality to show soft tissue; muscles, nerves, ligaments, etc. Your wife's oncologist has ordered exactly the right test to see spinal tumors.

My heart goes out to you during this difficult time. I hope your wife feels better soon.

Hope this helps,


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Delia White


I am not qualified to interpret diagnostic imaging or to diagnose disease. Please consult a physician for that information. I am the photographer. I can tell you what to expect during most MRI, CT and X-ray procedures.


I now have more than 30 years experience in diagnostic imaging. My specialty is MRI. I am also very familiar with CT and the way we used to take x-rays (everything's digital now)!

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Radiologic Technology.

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