Home MRI Adult MRI Series 3 - Cervical Spine for Suspected Trauma

Melbourne Radiology Clinic

Feb 26th
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Adult MRI Series 3 - Cervical Spine for Suspected Trauma


Following an episode of significant trauma, the supporting structures of the cervical spine often require definitive imaging. CT reliably excludes most fractures, however suffers from the inability to evaluate many acute types of disc injury, as well as any neurological injury.

MRI is an important adjunct to CT and in fact, the two tests are complimentary, as the strength in CT is to exclude osseous injury and the role of MRI is to exclude disc, ligament and neurological (spinal nerve and spinal cord) injury. MRI can even show small osseous contusions (“bone bruises”) that are typically CT occult and though not unstable, may account for unexplained pain following a normal CT examination. In the context of neurological symptoms following trauma, MRI is considered mandatory.

Figure 5 & 6. MRI of Cervical Spine  of patients presenting with suspected trauma.

Figure 5. Sagittal T2 fat saturated sequence demonstrates following a motor vehicle accident demonstrates isolated disruption of the anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL) at the C7/T1 level.

Figure 6. Sagittal T2 fat saturated sequence status post hyperflexion injury of the spine demonstrates abnormal hyperintense signal within the supraspinous and interspinous ligaments of the upper cervical spine (arrow) consistent with sprain injury..

MBS item description

Referral by a medical practitioner (excluding a specialist or consultant physician) for a MRI scan of spine for a patient 16 years or older for suspected:

  • cervical spine trauma

MRI scans that are eligible for the Medicare rebate referred by GPs are bulk billed at Melbourne Radiology Clinic.

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