One hundred and two patients with suspected cervical spondylotic myelopathy were prospectively investigated using MRI as the initial imaging technique. The aim was to discover if clinicians could manage patients with MRI alone, or if they would find a second investigation necessary. Eighty two patients were managed using MRI alone, 34 of whom were treated surgically. Twenty patients had a second investigation: a myelogram in 18 and a CT myelogram in two. This was performed in nine patients to exclude structural pathology in the thoracic or lumbar region (which was not examined with MRI), and in 11 to obtain more specific information about the cervical region. Only five of these 20 patients had surgical treatment. The diagnosis changed after the second investigation in four patients, but management was not influenced in any of these. MRI is a satisfactory alternative to myelography for most patients with suspected cervical spondylotic myelopathy.
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