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Rofo. 2007 Sep;179(9):914-24.

[MR-Guided pain therapy: principles and clinical applications].

[Article in German]

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Diagnostische Radiologie, Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen.


X-ray fluoroscopy and computed tomography are frequently used to perform percutaneous interventions in pain therapy. The development of MR-compatible therapy needles now allows these interventions to be performed under MR imaging guidance. MR-guided interventions may be performed using most clinical MR scanners; however, systems with an open configuration are advantageous. Multiplanar pre- and intra-procedural MR imaging provides the interventionalist with essential information, such as evaluation of anatomy and pathology, as well as the planning of the procedure and monitoring of fluid distribution without the use of contrast agents. With the use of non-ionizing radiation, interventional MR imaging is especially suited for the treatment of children and young adults as well as for serial injection therapy. For spinal MR interventions, passive needle visualization is an easily achievable and reliable method. The resulting needle artifact is influenced by several factors such as the alloy of the needle, the strength of the static magnetic field, the sequence type, the spatial orientation of the therapy needle as well as the echo time and may further be optimized during the intervention by alteration of the last three factors. Fast acquisition techniques and image processing allow for continuous, near real-time MR imaging (so-called MR fluoroscopy) and interactive needle navigations, comparable to X-ray fluoroscopy and CT fluoroscopy. The purpose of this review is to illustrate and discuss general concepts of interventional MR imaging. A spectrum of interventional MR imaging procedures in spinal pain therapy is described and illustrated, including procedures such as lumbar facet joint injections, sacroiliac joint injections, lumbar spinal nerve root infiltrations and drug delivery to the lumbar sympathetic chain.

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