For those familiar with MRIs of the lumbar spine

  1. Is it normal for the doctor to NOT request contrast with an L-S MRI? I've never had an MRI that *didn't* use contrast.

    My husband is having an MRI of his lumbar spine, with the Rx instructions saying, "r/d (I think) cauda equina impingement vs. high lumbar HND". (I *think* it says HND, which I am thinking means herniated disk??). Dx is left leg numbness.

    Anyway, the imaging center asked me if the MRI was to be done with contrast, but the doctor didn't write anything about contrast (or no contrast) on the Rx. I called his office and his assistant said something like, "if he didn't write for contrast, he doesn't want it." Yeah... so I asked her to please check with him about it. I'm not holding my breath.

    The doc is a physical medicine and rehab specialist, and I know he writes MRI orders all the time. Does it seem reasonable that he would order it *without* contrast?

    I'm starting school next week, and I don't have time to run my disabled husband all over creation again if it turns out the MRI was supposed to be done with contrast. I'd like to get it right the first time.

    Thanks for your help. I'm just looking for reassurance that it's reasonable for the doctor to not want contrast.
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   scared'o'needles!
    I have had an mri of my spine with no contrast.
  4. by   Baloney Amputation
    Are you sure it doesn't say HNP, herniated nucleus pulposus?

    I hear of MRIs being done without contrast a lot.
  5. by   hypocaffeinemia
    Dare I say most MR performed for orthopedic reasons are without contrast.
  6. by   GeekGirl
    I've had ruptured/herniated discs in my lumbar and thoracic regions and contrast was never ordered for diagnosis. Both acupuncture and epidural steroid injections worked wonders for me. Best wishes to your husband in finding relief from his pain soon!
  7. by   maggiernpainnurse
    If we send a patient for a MRI, we order contrast usually only if they have had surgery prior to their MRI. Reason is surgery can cause significant fibrosis and contrast is used to see abnormal tissue more clearly. It helps to distinguish between old surgical scars and a new disease or injury. Of course that is not written in stone, a lot depends on the chief c/o. Hope that helped to ease your worries a little.
  8. by   AtomicWoman
    Quote from applescruffette
    Are you sure it doesn't say HNP, herniated nucleus pulposus?

    I hear of MRIs being done without contrast a lot.
    It could say HNP. This guy's chicken scratch is pretty bad.
  9. by   AtomicWoman
    Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who responded so quickly to my post. I really appreciate it. And I feel much more confident that my hubby will get the right type of MRI done. Gad, I love!
  10. by   AtomicWoman
    Just looked up herniated nucleus pulposus. Yep, that makes sense now! Thank you again!
  11. by   nuangel1
    i have had 3 mris done all without contrast