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Need some information for my brother please

eec74eeec74 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
My brother has had a spinal cord stimulator for about six years now. His doctor at the time told him that it was not safe for him to have an MRI, x-ray, ultrasound or any other exam except a CAT scan. He's recently started having problems with the unit and I want him to be checked out. He was scheduled for an x-ray but cancelled it because he is concerned it could damage his unit. Does having an x-ray pose a risk for someone with this type of device? I found one webpage (http://www.spineuniversity.com/spinal_cord_stimulators) that concurs with his assertion, but it doesn't say why and I haven't found any other websites that warn against having x-rays. Any information you can give me would be very helpful. Thank you in advance.


  • According to my doctor, a physiatrist or pain doctor in Los Angeles who has SCSs on his list of treatments prior to surgery, the answer is no, they do not.

    Doctor's name removed by Administrator Dave
  • X-ray and CT are fine with a spinal cord stimulator. I have had numerous x-rays and CT's with my SCS over the last 3 years.

    The biggest concern is the induction of heat brought on by EMI electromagnetic interference. Things like defibrillation, diathermy, electrocautery, MRI, RF ablation, and therapeutic ultrasound should be avoided.

  • I've also had multiple x-rays and CTs, with and without the various contrast dyes, and no problems at all. I've also had 3 phase bone scans and SPECT scans, with no negative effects on my SCS.

    It's interesting to note that my doctors got more information from the 3 phase bone scan and the SPECT scan combined than they would have gotten from an MRI, which is just a little reminder not to get totally obsessed with the MRI factor. There are other tests that are safe and provide as much, if not more information.

    I always turn my amplitudes to 0 and then turn my SCS off, but that's just a personal preference. None of the techs have ever asked me to do anything special.
  • A CT wont hurt him i just had one two weeks ago didn't cause any problems at all.
  • Thank you very much for your responses!! I feel much better about pushing him to have the x-ray done. I will point him to this discussion in the hopes that his fears will be calmed.
  • Tell him to come on over to the live chat room. You too. We're a fun group of support people who've been there done that.
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