Tailbone (Coccyx) MRI: Viewing Your Own Computer CD

If you had an MRI done for your tailbone pain (coccyx pain, coccydynia) you should try to get a copy of the computer CD containing  your MRI images.

Ideally you should review the actual images with your treating physician (typically the physician who ordered the MRI). It’s a very bad sign about your  treating/ordering physician if they are not willing or able to review your tailbone MRI images with you.

But if the MRI facility gave the CD directly to you, you may be interested to check it out yourself, even prior to bringing it to your  doctor’s visit. Read below for tips on how to view your CD at home.

Here are some typical steps to open and view your MRI images on your own computer:

  • Typically when you load the computer CD in your computer the CD will open up and show a bunch of different files and folders.
  • If on your computer you have your folder display options set to “show details”, then it will show you not only the electronic file names for those files/folders but also the details about what types of files they are.
  • Usually there will only be one file that is classified as an “application” file.
  • Typically, if you click or double-click on that specific “application file” it will run the program that will show the images.
  • It may take a minute or two to load the program and bring up the program’s control panel.
  • Directions get trickier after that because every different MRI manufacturer has different software, so different ones use different control buttons for scrolling through the hundreds of images associated with a single MRI study.
    • For example, sometimes you need to double-click on a batch of images to display them.
    • Other programs require you to click on a batch of images and drag/drop them onto a display field.
    • Some programs will have you use the arrow buttons on your keyboard to advance from one image to the next, or from one group of images to the next.
    • Other programs will have you use the “page up” or “page down” button on your keyboard to do this.
    • Still others will require you to use your mouse to click on an icon up in the toolbar to do this.
  • Similarly, there will be control buttons to click on (or keyboard shortcuts) for your to look at further details of the images by making the image more or less bright, or adjusting the contrast up and down, or zooming in on an area of  question/concern. Again, the details for how to do this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
  • Take a photo: If you see something interesting or concerning on your computer screen, or anything that you just have a general question about, you may want to take a photo of it using your smartphone, so that you can show it to your doctor in case he/she has trouble opening the CD in their own office. When you are taking a smart phone/iPhone photo of your computer screen, you may want to turn off the lights in the room (to minimize reflection/glare).

Patrick Foye, M.D.

Founder and Director at The Tailbone Pain Center
Patrick Foye, M.D.
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