Table 4:

Spinal cord MRI protocol

Field strengthScans should be of good quality, with adequate SNR and resolution (in-section pixel resolution of ≤1 × 1 mm)
Closed magnets (large bore for patients with claustrophobia) preferred
CoverageCervical cord coveragea
Core sequencesSagittal T2
Sagittal proton attenuation, STIR, or PST1-IR
Axial T2 through lesions
Section thickness and gapSagittal: ≤3 mm, no gap
Axial: 5 mm, no gap
Optional sequencesAxial T2 through complete cervical cord
Gadoliniumb and postgadolinium sagittal T1
Sagittal T1
  • Note:—PST1-IR indicates phase-sensitive T1 inversion recovery.

  • a Thoracic and conus coverage recommended if symptoms localize to this region to rule out an alternate diagnosis.

  • b Minimum 5-minute delay before obtaining postgadolinium T1. Additional gadolinium does not need to be given for a spinal cord MRI if it follows a contrast brain MRI study.