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Thread: MRI with Harrington rods?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    408
    Quote Originally Posted by rainbow2010
    CT scans work best in the area around steel rods.
    Really? I have two stainless steel luque rods and when they did a CT scan on me in the late 90's it came back unreadable. Too many artifacts created by the rods. Have things changed with the technology?

    They are currently wanting to do a CT myelogram on me, and I am resisting big time. My last myelogram, before my surgery, had me in the hospital for a week. I don't want to go through that for a CT scan that will not work.

    Any advice on this one?

    Brad

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowflake
    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.
    Just incase you haven't had this translated into lay terms yet ...

    Levoscoliosis = a curve to the left (dextroscoliosis = to the right)

    "Questionable lucency" means the area could be more solid (dense), or less solid, than expected (based on how much light it let through during the x-ray). I'd guess in a case where they're describing the area around an attachment hook for your rod, it means it's not as solid as they expect it to be.

    "5mm of anterolisthesis" indicates the position of L4 is shifted forward and over L5 (an abnormal overlap)

    "osteopenia" is a decrease is bone mineral density (usually shown as BMD on reports ... I just read my Mom's a few days ago) that is low enough to be abnormal, but not low enough to be considered osteoporotic (i.e., osteoporosis). BMD that indicates osteopenia does put you at a greater risk for osteoporosis, but it isn't an absolute. Bone mass reaches a peak at about age 30, and one of the best ways to build (and maintain) bone mass is via weight bearing exercises.

    Some genetic factors make a person more prone to osteopenia (White and Asian females, especially those with a familial history, for example, are more at risk). Some outside influences (smoking, eating/metabolic disorders, excessive alcohol intake - among others) have also shown to increase risk. Post-menopausal women are more at risk for all forms of lowered BMD.

    There are medications that may help stave off osteporosis (Actonel and Fossamax, among others) you may want to discuss with your doctor.

    Now, as far as MRI's, the only downside to stainless steel (Harrington rods or newer hardware) and magnetic resonance imaging is an unclear view due to distortion. There is not a danger, and the magnets will not "rip out (or dislodge) the rods" as I've seen people say in various posts (not just in this thread).

    One of the major advantages to both titanium and Vitallium hardware is "MRI-ability", i.e. clarity of the results.

    Yes, some people *are* more sensitive to vibration (along with discomfort - and in rare cases, pain) with 316/316L SS hardware, but many claim to notice no sensation at all during an MRI. Open MRI's do exert less magnetic pull, but they also don't provide the clarity of a closed MRI. This is not to say the result of an open MRI may not be clear *enough* ... just that there is a difference.

    Hope this helps .

    Best regards,
    Pam
    Last edited by txmarinemom; 07-12-2008 at 01:35 AM. Reason: fat fingers!
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  3. #18
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    Port St. Lucie, FL
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    I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis in my late 20's because of the surgeries. I was on 10,000 iu of prescription dose Vitamin D and it helped get my hips back to normal (rather bring the BMD up). Now that I'm in my 40's, I guess it's time to have it checked out once again.

    As for having MRI's with rods in your spine, I guess next time when they tell me to take off my jewelry, belt, underwire bra, etc I'm going to refuse. I don't understand then why I could never have an MRI because of my hardware, other than an MRI of the brain and still had to remove anything with metal in it. I will never get that. I guess every place is different.

    1981-Harrington/Luque instrumentation T9-L5 for 30 degree thoracolumbar curve. Dr. Shufflebarger
    1990-Revision surgery-Broken hardware/flatback deformity/pseudoarthrosis-Cotrel Dubousett instrumentation with extension into sacrum. (never done correctly) Dr. Shufflebarger
    1995-Revision surgery-Severe flatback deformity/kyphosis-Moss Miami instrumentation (T5-sacrum) with titanium cages (back/front/back procedure), thoracoplasty, total reconstruction with osteotomies. (surgeon did surgery while coming down with chicken pox and developed encephalitis with brain damage, etc during 14 hr surgery) Dr. Shufflebarger
    2005-Car accident-spinal cord injury/myelopathy from top of rods/hooks at T5. Surgery to remove hardware, with exception of cages. Permanent damage. Dr. Campbell
    2008-5th surgery pending for severe stenosis in cervical spine, as well as lumbar spine because of prior surgeries.
    Last edited by Shelgrl66; 07-12-2008 at 01:30 AM.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelgrl66
    I I don't understand then why I could never have an MRI because of my hardware, other than an MRI of the brain and still had to remove anything with metal in it.
    From what I understand, it's because the hardware in your spine is 'anchored' into your bone. The doctor told me that if you have other metals in your body, say a metal wire that is connected to a pacemaker, it is so thin and small it could be ripped lose. I just had an MRI a few weeks ago, and even tho I don't have any hardware yet, I confirmed with him and the radiology center, that after my surgury, I will be able to have MRI's and they will be readable. They will just have to give me the injection of the contrast stuff so that they can see what they need it. They said it is perfectly safe to have MRI's afterwards.

    Now....I'm wondering, what if you have a loose screw or a broken rod?? Hmmm...I'll have to ask about that.
    __________________________________________
    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

  5. #20
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    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    Shelgrl,

    The reason they have you remove metal/jewelry is because you risk *distortion* of the results. There's really no point in lying there for a 45 minutes series (for each area) just to be stubborn and screw up the results unnecessarily.

    If you elect to refuse to remove things like jewelry, that's your choice - and a huge waste of your money if the MRI is skewed.

    That wouldn't be *my* choice, but that's just me.

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  6. #21
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    Jun 2008
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    Port St. Lucie, FL
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    Hence why they don't usually do MRI's with hardware here either and why they don't do MRI's on my spine because of the hardware. It's all metal.

    Quote Originally Posted by txmarinemom
    Shelgrl,

    The reason they have you remove metal/jewelry is because you risk *distortion* of the results. There's really no point in lying there for a 45 minutes series (for each area) just to be stubborn and screw up the results unnecessarily.

    If you elect to refuse to remove things like jewelry, that's your choice - and a huge waste of your money if the MRI is skewed.

    That wouldn't be *my* choice, but that's just me.

    Regards,
    Pam

  7. #22
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    Central NJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelgrl66
    Hence why they don't usually do MRI's with hardware here either and why they don't do MRI's on my spine because of the hardware. It's all metal.
    But my doctor and the radiology center said that they can do and get good images if they use the contrast stuff.
    __________________________________________
    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

  8. #23
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    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
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    When they do my CT scans, they tilt the machine about 30 to 45 degrees to get a better scan. They sometimes do 2 or 3 passes from different angles until they get a good scan. I have metal shavings near the base of my spine from where they cut off the bottom hook from my steel rod.
    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

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    east coast
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    299
    I don't know about harrington rods since they are 'old surgical metals' but newer materials being use are non-ferrous so they won't go flying to attach to the magnet or distort the images as much as ferrous materials. If all metals were attracted to the the MRI magnets I'd have had locker keys and my glasses flying across the room... or some kid would have their face plastered to the MRI borrow because of their orthodontic braces

    lots of people get scanned with 'metal' in their bodies. I've seen scans with joint replacement hardwares in place which are bigger chunks of metal than spinal instrumentation can be. Certain metal hardware are meant to become anchored and part of the body spine hard ware included. People with pace makers or aneurysm clips won't be allowed even near a MRI since the magnet is always on, and a clip moving would be potentially lethal...and pacemaker's signal getting disturbed isn't good.

    Some place are just too lazy or don't have the right scan protocol that counters the artifacts to do scans on people with metal in them. Things have to be done differently than doing a standard spine protocol if someone has rods vs. a rodless spine.

    I've only seen one or two places out of 7(?) places I've had scans done at that specifically asked if one had harrington rods. So there maybe some places that won't scan people with harrington rods but will scan those with more recent rods.

    I've had my entire body scanned and there have been more artifacts from minor movement (like..eyelids/breathing) than my mouth full of cavity fillings.
    30 something...

    2003 - T45, L???
    2005 - T50, L31
    bunch of measurements between...

    2011 - T60, L32
    2013 - T65, L?

    Posterior Fusion T3 - L3 09/15/14

    Before and After X-Ray


  10. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    PA
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    359
    I just wanted to say that I had an MRI done at 6 days post-op to check for an infection and to make sure all the hardware was still in place (I passed out and fell on day 5). I have a titanium alloy rod and a commercially pure titanium rod. I don't know what the screws are. There was some distortion about the alloy rod due to some magnetic metals being present. There are three common metals that are magnetic (cobalt, nickel and iron) with nickel and cobalt being much less magnetic than iron. All of that to say that you can still have an MRI done with a small amount of magnetic material in your hardware.
    Chemist, 30

    1998- 18 degrees
    2003- 33 degrees
    2005- 37 degrees
    2006- 44 degrees
    May 2007- 47 degrees
    December 2007 - 50 degrees X-ray

    Surgery May 27, 2008
    Fused T1 to L2
    Curve corrected to 15 degrees X-ray

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Great Barrington,MA
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    3

    Smile MRI with Harrington rod

    Hi there,
    I'm new to this site,but old with scoliosis and Harrington rod.
    I had my surgery in 1977 at Hosp for Special Surgery in NYC by Dr.David Levine. I too had 2 children,no problems until after 2nd baby, then severe
    lower back spasms which sent me to a local orthopedist who referred me to Dr.Levine. My rod fused 10 vertebrae to L3 or 4. Surgery was definitely a success for close to 18yrs. Problems began again and are worse, so I'm investigating revison surgery now at age 61.
    To answer your MRI question, yes you can have one. I did. The
    results were poor due to the rod being there. My neurologist looked at the CD and couldn't see much and the Dr. I'm seeing at New England Baptist in Boston says X-rays are mush more useful as did the Dr I saw inNYC at HSS.
    Good Luck.
    Suemc

    P.S. Original curve: 85 upper, 72 lower. Surgical improvement to: 58 upper, 42 lower.
    Today's curve: 80 upper, 70 lower.
    Last edited by suemc; 08-06-2008 at 04:00 PM.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    4

    yes you can

    I just had a thoracic and lumbar MRI with Harrington rod from 1986. There is some artifact around the rod that distorts the image. My parents were told I couldn't have one, but all the doctors I've seen as an adult have told me I could--and I did.
    Harrington rod Luque wires spinal fusion 1986 with Dr. Hugo Keim of Columbia Presbyterian. Now have flatback syndrome.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Geneseo, NY
    Posts
    130

    I did

    I had an MRI a few years ago. My rod didn't seem to be a problem. I believe my rod is stainless steel.
    Last edited by JulieBW; 02-21-2014 at 06:54 PM.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

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