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Spine and Back Health

MRI after Titanium cage in L5 S1

10/21/2008

Question:

Three years ago I had back surgery and they used Titanium for the cage and screws. I fell a couple of days ago and now I an having a lot of pain further up my back and one of knees is having sharp pains. My legs are having a burning sensation along with constant pain. I went to the doctor and he said an MRI could not be done because of the cage in my back. I know I have had one since the surgery. Is it possible to have an MRI done when the Titanium was used in my back? Please help with this issue. I`m in a new town with a new doctor.

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. You absolutely CAN have an MRI. Non-MRI compatible metals haven't been used for spinal fusion implants for twenty years. Now, the metal implant will definitely have an impact on the resulting images - it will distort the images in a zone about a centimeter or so around the implant, sometimes more, thus making the images very hard to interpret right at that location. In other words, you may not get very useful information about that particular spot in your spine. Otherwise, it shouldn't be an issue. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University