Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28

Thread: MRI with Harrington rods?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    14

    Question MRI with Harrington rods?

    I had spinal fusion for severe, double-curve scoliosis in 1972 and have a long Harrington rod. I must have had a wonderful surgeon (Dr. Hugo Keim at Columbia Presbyterian in NYC), because I was pain-free and problem-free for almost 30 years. I've had two babies with no spine-related problems during pregnancy and normal deliveries. In recent years, my back has become "noisy," especially when carrying heavy items or twisting. The noises sound like bone crunching bone, and there is some sensation of grinding - but no pain - along with that. I began to have low back pain if I was on my feet too long or sitting bent over textbooks for too long. A recent new development of pain in the lower right quadrant sent me to the doctor suspecting an ovarian cyst, but an ultrasound exam found no problem in that area. My family doctor sent me for an x-ray to see if a problem in my lumbar spine might be the source of the pain. I don't have the radiologist's report yet, but I do have the x-ray, and even to my untrained eye, it doesn't look good. The Harrington rod appears to be attached at L3. Below this level, the vertebrae appear compressed and misaligned. I'm wondering if I can have an MRI with the metal rod in place. A woman who answered the phone at a local radiology facility says I can have an "open" MRI. If anyone has information or experiences to share, I would really appreciate hearing from you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    19

    hi snowflake

    i too had concerns about having an mri with a harrington rod. i have been researching this and have been assured it is ok. many have. i am in nov.
    i too had severe double curve and long fusion with harr. rod. i have lasted 24 years and had 3 children. i just saw a revision surgeon yesterday named dr. lenke. you are probably right about your vertabra below your fusion being worn out and off line. that is exactly my situation. you may also have flatback. you have been very blessed to have lasted this long many have needed revision surgeries much sooner.
    i hope this was a help. my best to you.
    barb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    14

    On my way...

    I just got a copy of the radiologist's report on my lumbar spine x-ray. Among other things, it says "There is levoscoliosis identified." I'll have to look that one up. It also mentions "some questionable lucency seen surrounding the inferior laminar hook." Additionally, "There is some posterolateral fusion noted with some marked degenerative changes mostly at L3-4 and L4-5 with 5mm of anterolisthesis [?] of L4 on L5... with accentuation of the normal lordosis." There is disc space narrowing at L3-4. Osteopenia is identified as well. On the plus side, "There is preservation of vertebral body height." (Thank God for small favors...?) I'm guessing that the comment about anterolisthesis means that L4 is misaligned by 5mm with respect to L5 and is sort of "overhanging" it. I could see that myself on the x-ray. The radiologist recommends CT, MRI, or myelogram to better evaluate the situation. My family doc is referring me to an orthopedic.

    Looks like I'm on my way. Does anyone know of a good (or great) revision doc in the Tampa area?
    Last edited by snowflake; 06-28-2007 at 07:01 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    U.K.
    Posts
    137
    Can't help with your doc, sorry but I can tell you that it is fine to have an MRI with rods in place as I had one done just a few weeks ago. There were no problems at all from my end but the radiologist did say that they didn't always get the best pictures because of it.

    Good luck!
    Double 63(T)/75(L) deg curve with big sideways shift - Surgery in UK on 8th February 2006.
    Post op 30(T)/33(L)
    http://warpedwoman.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
    Posts
    449
    I have a steel rod from 1975 and I had an MRI. There is enough bone growth to hold your rod in place. Your back will get hot from the MRI and I had some pain, but I am sensitive to vibrations. The steel rod will cause distortion in the area around it. CT scans work better if you need the rod area checked.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Posts
    32

    MRI with Harrington Rods

    I have NEVER heard of having an MRI with Harrington rods. I heard that you cannot with any metals, hence why they make you remove your jewelry, underwire bras, belt, etc. I don't know why anyone would want to risk it and it shocks me that someone would actually do an MRI with your Harrington rods, UNLESS you are having an MRI of the brain or other part that is not related to the spine. In all the years of myself having rods, and I've been dealing with my problems/instrumentations for 28 yrs, NOONE would let you do an MRI like that, nor did the doctor that was ordering the tests. That's not a risk I would take. There are CT scans and mylegrams (if you are able to because of the fusion). I had a lumbar mylegram through my fusion and rods at one time, but it took a LONG time to get the needle through, unless you go through the neck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    131
    I have had numerous MRI's over the years with rods from top to bottom. There has never been a question about doing it and has never been problem. Trust your doctor and don't worry about the war stories you may hear. They wouldn't give you an MRI if it was going to hurt you.
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Posts
    32

    Mri?

    Backtalk,
    Actually it had nothing to do with my doctor(s) wanting an MRI...they didn't let me have one, NOR would they do one at the radiologists office. Trust me, I'm far from nervous on ANYTHING, but obviously the doctors knew what they were talking about, and the radiologists office. In that case then it you wouldn't have to take off ANY metals. Even metals fillings are an issue for them, as it can be pulled out. I've had enough problems where I doubt I would press the issue to do otherwise. There are other options besides an MRI.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    131
    Quote Originally Posted by Shelgrl66
    Backtalk,
    Actually it had nothing to do with my doctor(s) wanting an MRI...they didn't let me have one, NOR would they do one at the radiologists office. Trust me, I'm far from nervous on ANYTHING, but obviously the doctors knew what they were talking about, and the radiologists office. In that case then it you wouldn't have to take off ANY metals. Even metals fillings are an issue for them, as it can be pulled out. I've had enough problems where I doubt I would press the issue to do otherwise. There are other options besides an MRI.
    Too say the least I am confused with your situation. I have enough metal in me to start a junk yard, ckick here to see. http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e2...DSCF1278-1.jpg I have just broken a rod and I am set for another MRI Tuesday morning. I will let you know if I made it, or have my wife let you know if I didn't.
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,844
    Just thought I'd weigh in on this too... my doctor said there would be no problems with having MRIs in the future. I think there's just distortion caused by the hardware. Something else that the doctors don't all agree on, I guess.

    Am adding this thought-- maybe it has to do with the difference in the old hardware (true Harrington rods) as opposed to what they use now. My surgery was just last year. I have stainless steel, but again, my surgeon said there would be no problem with having MRIs in the future. And yes, I understand there would be distortion/haloing around the hardware... Of course, I'm hoping there will be no need for having an MRI ever again!
    Last edited by Susie*Bee; 06-23-2008 at 06:51 AM. Reason: add afterthought...
    63, and feeling better with each year-- Life is good!
    2007 major curve @ 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shiftt
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15-- and Tickled Pink!!!


    Click to view my pics: [url=http://s244.photobucket.com/albums/gg25/SusieB1951/pics%20of%20scoli%20x-rays/,[/url] digital x-rays, and pics of me

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    44
    I was under the same impression as Susie*Bee. My doctor said that an MRI would be hard to read with all of the metal in my back, but I don't know if the Harrington Rod is different.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Geneseo, NY
    Posts
    130
    I had a lumbar MRI last year. No problems with heat or distortions. No one seemed concerned about my rod.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Posts
    32

    MRI's and Spinal hardware

    I guess every place is different, but every place I've ever been will NOT do an MRI over spinal hardware. They will do an MRI of the brain, but not over the hardware. This is just not something they do around here. They don't want to risk it because they have had incidences of metal implants being affected and pulled out and/or moved around during previous scans. They will not let you wear earrings, necklaces, belts and make your pull your pants down if you have metal buttons. Again, I guess every place is different. Every doctor I've ever had would not order an MRI of the spine because of my different hardware over the years. Me personally, I wouldn't want to risk it so-to-speak, especially when I'm already having enough problems. Why would I want more on top of it? Just my two cents.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,955
    Is this MRI question an issue for only Stainless Steel, or also for Titanium?
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
    Posts
    449
    titanium is not supposed to cause a problem. The debate about steel is because they use a giant magnet for the MRI and steel is attracted to the magnet. I saw my MRI and when they came to my steel rod, the films went wavy in that area. I'm sure as technology improves, they will develop a way for people with steel rods to have clear results with MRIs. In the mean time, CT scans work best in the area around steel rods.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •