Improved MRI Cervical Spine

An Improved MRI Cervical Spine case study is shared below.

Cervical Spine MRIs are some of the bread and butter imaging of MRI centers. If these scans are not the best they can be, you will lose business.

improved mri cervical spine

The scan on the right is 26 seconds faster.

Both MRI Cervical Spine images passed ACR accreditation, but the image on the right has significantly more  SNR (signal to noise resolution) and is a much better image.  Notice the graininess of the image on the left, which even demonstrates a grainy texture inside the cord and into the medulla-oblongota in the brain. It might be difficult for a radiologist to determine pathology inside this area without adequate signal from the sampled tissue.

mri cervical axial gradient echo image

These images show axial cervical spine with the same acquisition time, but the image quality on the right is clearly much better for diagnosing.

We optimized each sequence in the Cervical MRI exam which resulted in better image quality in the sagittals and axials, along with a shorter overall scan time saving 8.4% in time in the overall Improved MRI Cervical Spine study.

When you include the entire series of images, the entire scan set was shortened by 8.4%  in time, which meant every patient spent almost two minutes shorter in the MRI scanner.

Because the scans were shorter, there was less motion, and more successful completion of better quality images with an improved MRI c-spine study.  This exam is one of the most popularly ordered exams in the magnetic resonance imaging departments, and sometimes one of the most difficult to complete without patient motion.

Improved MRI Cervical Spine

improved mri cervical spine-optimized-cspine-timechart

Improved mri cervical spine sequences shown on the chart demonstrating faster scan times on the right for a savings of 8.4%.

Coaching the patients between mri sequences is important.  By notifying them how long each sequence is going to run, the operator can gain trust and alleviate tension for the patient during the exam.

Most of the sequences run for several minutes at a time, so encouraging the patient to swallow in between sequences is important in order to stress complete stillness during the image acquisition. “Quiet breathing, without swallowing” is recommended to the patient during the acquisition phase.

Coaching between sequences often soothes the anxious patient, and sometimes, they exit the scanner after having counted the actual seconds the sequence was running.


Overall time savings of the MRI Cervical spine exam went from 22:38 to 20:44 which resulted in an 8.4% overall time savings. This may not seem like much, but when 8.4% got multiplied by the number of studies per year (557) this equated to over 17.6383 hours, which is almost two full time 8 hour shifts, or two full days of MRI scanning.

Case Study Conclusion:

1) The site received a reduced scan time on one of the most popular exams ordered, the MRI Cervical Spine.

2) The overall exam time savings of 8.4% helped with efficient operations.

3) When the total savings were added up over a year, the 8.4% in Cervical MRI time savings resulted in 17.63 hours of time, which resulted in almost two full time days of scanning.

4) The time savings during the scan helped reduce patient motion during the MRI Cervical Spine exam.


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