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Can you have an MRI with cage in neck?

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  • Can you have an MRI with cage in neck?

    My husband's Dr wants to do an MRI. He has a cage of some sort in his neck and I think some screws. I thought you couldn't have an MRI with hardware in your neck...C5 is the location.

    Just wondering
    Thanks

  • #2
    A DR. once did an MRI of my knee which has a small piece of shrapnel from a motorcycle accident. $4000.00 down the drain, it didn't work at all.

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    • #3
      I think usually they are made of titanium which is safe in an mri machine.

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      • #4
        I got one at T12, My back surgeon said NEVER to have one done again!!!

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        • #5
          I've had 3 MRI's of my c-spine, and i'm plated from C 456. And have had no issues. As Starfish said, it's usually Ti. Check the medical records, it should tell you what it is made of.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Patonb
            I've had 3 MRI's of my c-spine, and i'm plated from C 456. And have had no issues. As Starfish said, it's usually Ti. Check the medical records, it should tell you what it is made of.
            C5 here, had 3 MRI's of my neck with no problem and I don't think the metal wireing around my bone graft is made of titanium (could be wrong). The only problem is that it often shows artefacts which are decreasing image quality in certain areas. I am not saying that there should never be concerns but I think it usually goes well.
            Pharmacist, C4-5 injury but functional C6 (no triceps/flexors)

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            • #7
              I have hardware at both C 6-7 & Harrington's damn near top to bottom.

              My Harringtons are not Ti. I was also told an MRI wouldn't work due to the Harringtons for some reason. They said there'd be a shadow of sorts created from them.
              "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." ~ Thomas Jefferson

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              • #8
                There is no problem doing an MRA with the metal in the cage and the screws, but if the doctor is trying to visualize anything at that level in the spinal cord it is not likely to give very clear images because of interference caused by the hardware.

                RAB
                The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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                • #9
                  You can see an example of my MRI here: /forum/showthread.php?t=49043

                  You see the artefacts on the posterior vertebrae (black spots) but the image of the spinal cord is quite clear.
                  Pharmacist, C4-5 injury but functional C6 (no triceps/flexors)

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                  • #10
                    It all depends on the type of metal. MRI uses a very strong magnetic field and any metal that is magnetic (typically iron containing like steel) will cause a distortion in the magnetic field which negatively affects the MRI. Titanium is nonmagnetic and therefore is compatible with MRI. Most surgeons nowadays use titanium or some nonmagnetic material for fusions etc. to avoid issues with MRI. It's mostly people from the old days with steel in their spine that have interference.
                    Last edited by redbandit; 06-09-2006, 12:56 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Mri Titanium

                      [quote=redbandit]It all depends on the type of metal. MRI uses a very strong magnetic field and any metal that is magnetic (typically iron containing like steel) will cause a distortion in the magnetic field which negatively affects the MRI. Titanium is nonmagnetic and therefore is compatible with MRI. Most surgeons nowadays use titanium or some nonmagnetic material for fusions etc. to avoid issues with MRI. It's mostly people from the old days with steel in their spine that have interference.

                      Most spinal reductions for the last 20 years are Titanium. In the USA anyway. Titanium or any other kind of "metal" causes artifact or distortion on a MRI exam. The immediate anatomy next to the implant can be poorly visualized. That does not mean that the cord above, below, lateral or medial to a device is so dimminished. A large field of view an increased bandwidth reduces magnetic suseptibility. These are imaging parameters an expierienced MRI Technologist uses to generate the best exam. I know I've scanned my son's Harrington Rods many times. Syrinx and cord atrophy levels, AVM's, and degeneration are only a few of findings possible. 3D Cat scan reconstructions can help eliminate much distortion from metalic implant. See GE Medical website. Mri is expensive therefor physicians may discourage for cost management.

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                      • #12
                        My sister worked in a steel mill as a metal tester. The job involved grinding a little bit into the sample so that it could be tested properly.

                        Due to the nature of her job and the possibility that a small metal shard or splinter could have been unknowingly embedded in one her eyes, they gave her a pre-MRI magnetic test. I guess they ran a very sensitive metal detector over her eyes to make sure there wasn't anything magnetic in them.

                        From what she told me, if you have a piece of magnetic metal in you it can be pulled right through your skin and onto the huge magnetic coil inside the MRI machine. It was possible, that if my sister had a small piece of magnetic metal in her eye it potentionally could have been drawn right through her brain. How true this is I'm not sure but it's what my sister, who is an RN and not prone to lying or exaggerating, told me.

                        Just last night (or Wednesday) on Fox's "House" they had a death row inmate in an MRI scanner. And the prison tattoos he had contained traces of magnetic materials and he was screaming like a little schoolgirl from the pain. The show "House" is fictitious so how true that story is I can't say.

                        But most, and probably all of the hardware they use in the human body is non-magnetic. I'm not sure what my Harrington rods are made of (installed in 1979) but they're either stainless steel or titanium. Both of these materials are non-magnetic. As are the hooks and screws. I hope, I hope.

                        You can always be scanned by a metal detector first. Or at least ask them about it.

                        Just make sure the doctor and MRI operator are aware that you have fixation hardware in your neck. They certainly don't want a malpractice suit on their hands so I imagine they know what they're doing.

                        I once saw a show where a fellow had a very heavy duty chain.... 3/8 inch or thicker links and about ten feet long. He slowly pushed it toward the huge MRI magnetic coil (not yet installed in the scanner) and the heavy chain extended straight out. The closer it got to the magnetic coil he was barely able to keep a grip on the chain. That's one very strong magnet in those MRI machines.
                        "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

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                        • #13
                          Thanks

                          Thanks to everyone...I feel better now. I will check with his surgeon to see if he can tell me exactly what he put in....and I will notify the ordering doctor and tech about the hardware. I appreciate the help!

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