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Can I Have An MRI With A Metal Implant or Joint Replacement?

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Updated May 29, 2014

Question: Can I Have An MRI With A Metal Implant or Joint Replacement?
Answer: MRI scans are used to diagnose many types of medical conditions, including many orthopedic problems. However, people with metal implants in their body may not be able to have a MRI performed. The reason is that the MRI is done using a very strong magnetic field to create the images. Some metal implants could cause problems if subjected to these incredibly high magnetic forces. Always check with your doctor to ensure that your implant is safe for MRIs.

The implants that are most prone to causing problems for patients with MRIs are the following:

  • Pacemakers or heart valves
  • Metal implants in a patient's brain
  • Metal implants in a patient's eye or ears
  • Infusion catheters
Most patients with these types of metal implants cannot have a MRI done.

In addition, patients who have been injured by bullets or shrapnel, or patients who work with metals, should be specifically questioned to determine if a MRI is possible.

Some metal implants typically do not cause problems. Most orthopedic and dental implants are not magnetic. 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. Even if you think the metal implant is compatible with the MRI machine, you must let the MRI personnel know in order to ensure this metal is compatible.

  1. About.com
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  3. Orthopedics
  4. Hip & Knee
  5. Hip & Knee Replacement
  6. Hip & Knee Implants
  7. MRI With a Metal Implant or Joint Replacement

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