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Do metal implants interfere with MRI scans?

Q: My father is 70 years old. He was operated for cervical spondylosis 14 years back. He has anterior decompression on C5 with grafting corecomy fixtures with plate. He doesn't know of which metal the plate is made up of. Now he has been advised to take MRI scan, as he has pain from hip to leg and bulge in L5-S1. Can he undertake the MRI scan without knowing the metal of the plate? A radiologist told him that if the metal is titanium, then only he can take the MRI. Please advise.

A:Most metal implants typically do not cause problems. This is because most alloys used in orthopaedic and dental implants are not ferromagnetic. These include hip and knee replacements; plates, screws, and rods used to treat fractures; and cavity fillings. All of these metal implants can distort the MRI image if near the part of the body being scanned, but they will usually not cause problems to the equipment. It would be important to inform the technician performing the MRI scan that the plates exist.

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