Can MRI findings predict soft tissue and bone injury?

“The objective of this trial was to evaluate (1) the predictive value of cervical MRI after whiplash injuries and (2) the value of repeating MRI examinations after 3 months including sequences with flexion and extension of the cervical spine.”

Subjects had no history of neck trouble or history of whiplash and were involved in either rear-end or frontal car collisions. Clinical follow-ups were performed after 3 and 12 months. Researchers measured for neck pain, headache, neck disability and working ability.

“A total of 178 participants had a cervical MRI scan on average 13 days after the injury. Traumatic findings were observed in seven participants. Signs of disc degeneration were common and most frequent at the C5–6 and C6–7 levels.”  Additionally, findings were not associated with outcome after 3 or 12 months. “Trauma-related MRI findings are rare in a whiplash population screened for serious injuries in the emergency unit and not related to a specific symptomatology.”

European Spine Journal –  June 2008;Epub

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