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mri safety for harrington rod
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mri safety for harrington rod

I had a spinal fusion from T5 to L3 for scoliosis with 1 harrington rod in 1986. I have had increasing problems with lower back and hip pain. My Orthopaedic surgeon has ordered and MRI of my lumbar spine and hips which he wrote a precription for me to do in my home town, as his clinic is about 2 hours away. He has specified that nothing higher than a Tessla 1.5 MRI be used. I have contacted the 2 most well known Diagnostic/ Imaging places here in my home town. They have both told me that a Harrington Rod is not on the "approved list" of medical devices and MRI is not reccomended.

My question is... WHat can you tell me about the safety of what my Doc has prescribed?
Thank you so very much,
Sanghi
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We get MRI's of patients spines who have Harrington Rods all the time.  It is safe and not a risk.  The rod is made of stainless steel and in your case is likely completely stable in the fusion bone.  It will not move, bend or break, nor heat up in an MRI.  The rod can interfere with the image quality around the area of the rod (T5-L3) but the images below L3 -S1 should be fine.
Tell the MRI secretary to ask the radiologist rather than making the assessment herself.  I am sure he will allow it to go ahead.
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Does it make a difference as to what size MRI machine is used?  I have one of the first Harrington Rods - 1964.  The local hospital has two MRI's.  One is a new, highly powerful magnet, and the other is smaller and a number of years older.  
Sarita
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