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    Old 05-12-2008, 11:42 AM   #1
    MarthaJane
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    Can I still have an MRI?

    This may be a crazy question, but I had cervical fusion with titanium plate and screws and artificial disc in 2004 at C4-C6. All of my old symptoms have recurred -- incredible arm pain, numbness in hands, and burning pain between shoulder blades. I tried to get in with my NS but was told to see my primary care doc first for films. Went to the primary care doc who ordered xrays and EMG. Both show problems below the fusion. Is an MRI still doable at this point? I didn't know if the titanium hardware would prevent another MRI?

    Thanks for your input.

     
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    Old 05-12-2008, 04:16 PM   #2
    Wymom94
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    Hi MarthaJane, I was told (by my neurosurgeon) that I was given my titanium plate and screws b/c they were fine to have an MRI w/. My understanding is that there isn't a worry w/ titanium. To be certain, you could call the facility that offers the MRI and ask their MRI technician.
    I hope you find out what's causing the recurrence of your symptoms -soon.
    Take care.

     
    Old 05-12-2008, 04:47 PM   #3
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    I don't know about artifical disc, but I have a very large titanium plate and 8 screws and have MRIs all the time. Good luck!

    Last edited by PNo; 05-12-2008 at 04:47 PM.

     
    Old 05-12-2008, 07:33 PM   #4
    sunshine221
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    Ok - I'll put on my metallurgical hat today - titanium is a non-magnetic metal - sometimes it is an alloy (mixture) with other metals but in this case I do think its in a non-magnetic form and MRI is ok

    Airport detectors are set differently and these plates may trigger those even if they aren't magnetic (I don't have plates so I don't know this for sure)

    -Sunshine

     
    Old 05-12-2008, 09:09 PM   #5
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    I once set off detectors and then the hand wand. Then I showed them the card my dr. had made with my xray on it. I can't remember which terminal this happened at, it might have been Dallas.

     
    Old 05-12-2008, 11:58 PM   #6
    BobM
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    I've had two ACDFs, both with plates and screws, and a fair number of MRIs. There are no safety or health issues because of the metal, but they do cause 'noise' in the MRI images, at those locations, so it is harder for the radiologist to interpret things in the close vicinity of the plates. The areas above and below the plates produce normal MRI images, so it's a very local effect.

    Every time I have an MRI now, the report indicates this 'problem' and recommends other imaging techniques, such as CT with contrast injections, etc., to more clearly see the details in the vertebrae with the plates.

     
    Old 05-13-2008, 07:40 AM   #7
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    You can ask a Radiologist, they should know.

    Sunny

     
    Old 05-13-2008, 01:05 PM   #8
    codemonger
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    I have an C 4-5 ACDF with screws and plate. If I remember correctly (I don't have it with me right now), my op report mentioned that the plate was "MRI safe" or words to that effect.

    I had an MRI a couple of weeks ago to track progress (my symptoms have not cleared up after the ACDF). The only thing I noted this time is that the MRI technician YELLED at me more to keep still. I don't know if this is because of the plate, or just my nervousness, but I didn't have this problem with 2 previous cervical MRIs.

     
    Old 05-13-2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    I had a recurrance of my symptoms and the surgeon had me undergo an MRI, CT Myelogram and xrays to pin point what the problem was. I have a bone spur on the nerve and some foraminal narrowing so I'm having a posterior cervical foraminotomy next week after having had a C5-C7 ACDF two years ago.
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    Old 05-14-2008, 08:42 AM   #10
    MarthaJane
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    Thank you all for responding. My surgery was four years ago and it is like deja vous. I have been just great for the past 4 years but a couple of months ago the pain in my arms began recurring and now I have the numbness in my hands, reduced range of motion in my neck and terrible pain between the shoulder blades. I called the NS, but was told that I needed to be assessed by my primary care Dr. and get a set of films before making the appointment with the NS that did the surgery. I have BC/BS insurance which does not require a referral but I went ahead and made the appointment and saw the primary care doc. She sent me for xrays and an EMG because she wasn't certain what was done to me and if I could have an MRI. I have sent for the hospital records and record of the surgery just so that I have it and have collected the old MRIs and old xrays. I haven't heard back from her with any reports, but hopefully will today. I really feel like valuable time has been wasted and that everything would have been clearer with an MRI, but we will see. Her initial reaction was that she thought that arthritis was setting in my neck.

     
    Old 05-14-2008, 05:35 PM   #11
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    MarthaJane:

    Keep in mind that the MRI can be done but is not always as clear (in terms of image quality) after you've had an ACDF (or any hardware in the neck). The EMG is also a good idea - my doctor wanted to rule out Carpal Tunnel, etc. The final definitive cause for my pain was found via the CT Myelogram - it gave better images. So if the doctor says the MRI is inconclusive ask if perhaps a CT Myelogram would help.
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    Old 05-16-2008, 12:35 PM   #12
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    Re: Can I still have an MRI?

    Martha,
    I had 2 lumbar fusions and have a lot of metal in me too - I had a lot of CT and MRI done since and no problem with it.
    I am so sorry your pain is back; I can understand what this means, trust me.

    Martha,
    can you please let me know why did they do the surgery on you? What were your symptoms? I posted a thread now with my problem and so far I don't have the answer from my surgeon, waiting for app.
    But I suffer from arms/hands pain so much. Pins/needles go through my pinky and ring fingers. Pain in the middle of T - C levels, goes down to arms, shoulders and hands, i can't sleep, can't hold a cup due to pain and weakness...
    Please let me know your story, i really appreciate your respond.

     
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