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MRI artifact question

grandmesamomggrandmesamom Posts: 181
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am 11 year post op spinal fusion L45 .I have done great up until the past year with increased low back pain radiating to hips. I had an MRI done which virtually is unreadable because of the srtifact. The Dr showed it to me and it looks like a big blob of nothing.
Why do they do an MRI if they can't see around the hardware?
Is there another alternative or xray they can do that actually shows what is going on at the surgery level?


  • There is a lot of variation in how much metallic artifacts interfere with MR imaging. I have screws in my pelvis, but they don't cause much distortion on my MRIs. So, there are people with hardware who can get usable MRIs.

    A CT or a CT myelogram may be a better imaging choice for you. It just depends on what they are looking for. Did your doctor not recommend an alternative?
  • Did your doctor or the radiologist also consider the MRI unreadable?
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  • The radiologist could only read above L4 and states that due to artifact he could not see below this level. The ortho Dr showed me the MRI and also told me it was not useful. We are trying conservative measures first like rest and antiinflammatories. I am concerned because my legs feel wobbly,stiff and I get cramps all the way down my hamstrings to my calves. I am very active and I don't know what to think of this.
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