What’s The Difference Between An X-Ray, CT Scan and MRI? Which Is Best For Herniated Disc?
Click here to download a full video transcript.
Do I need an x-ray, CT scan or MRI to diagnose the herniated disc in my neck? Which is best for a herniated cervical disc? What’s the difference between the x-ray, CT and MRI scan? Dr. Seth Neubardt, cervical spine surgical expert tells how the x-ray is used to check the bones in the neck but it cannot reveal a herniated disc. To see the disc you must obtain a CT scan or MRI. The MRI is most sensitive and will usually be ordered if you have persistent neck pain with pain radiating down the arm, with arm numbness and tingling or weakness. A neck or cervical x-ray can reveal a fracture, tumor, arthritis or instability. CT scans also look at bones and use x-rays but takes very thin slices of the bone and is more detailed than a plain x-ray. The CT is very good to check for fracture. Is the CT scan better than the MRI for diagnosing an herniated disc?– No. The MRI is best for evaluating the soft tissue in the spine and neck and is therefore the best way to find the slipped disk. Usually the MRI will not be done unless you have had symptoms for several weeks. Another less used test is the CT myelogram of the cervical spine. That test may also reveal the herniated disc in great detail.