Radiology/MRI questions


I had 2 questions please. I may need an MRI due to lower back pain that radiates to the front into the pelvic/groin area. Are they able to take images of both areas at the same time?
I tend to be claustrophobic, so if my head were enclosed inside the machine I may need to take a sedative. But if it's outside the machine, I should be fine. So, would my head be in or outside of the tube to do this kind of MRI?  Thanks

Hello, Lee.

An MRI of the spine includes only the spinal canal, nerve roots, vertebra and discs. This exam does not visualize the entire abdomen/pelvis. That said, a spinal MRI shows much more nerve detail and is the most appropriate exam for "radiating pain" problems. A pelvic MRI would not show much spinal canal detail.

As for question #2: Generally speaking, your head would be inside the tube. It depends on whether the tube is a "short bore" or "long bore" and which section of your spine is to be examined as to how far under your head would be. If you go in feet-first, your head will be very close to the tunnel entrance and will not have to travel through the tunnel.

If you're the least bit claustrophobic, I highly recommend you take a sedative. That will make it much easier for you to remain motionless and relaxed during the exam. Be sure that someone else drives you to and from your appointment.

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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