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Not strictly a PMR problem

Managed to get appointment with usual GP this morning to discuss recent back Xray results. This was done to further investigate the right sided leg muscle cramp-like pain which has been worse since Sept/Oct last.

I had my hip joints replaced in 2002 (a fairly new procedure then called 'Birmingham' hip resurfacing) and as some people have experienced problems with metal on metal replacements my consultant ordered an MRI scan last April to rule this out as being the possible cause of my pain. Consequently he was satisfied that this was not the case.

Anyway during conversation with GP this morning I referred to said MRI scan.

"Oh no", says she, "you couldn't have had an MRI scan if you have metal hips." "What did I have then", says I - "I went into one of those tunnel things".

"Oh" says she, reading back over my notes, "you DID have an MRI - well we always tell people they can't have an MRI with metal hips.....ah well Mr ........... is very good he must know what he's doing."

Now this is worrying me and my question is......... has anyone else with metal hip replacements had an MRI scan.

Not sure but I think she used the phrase 'draw the metal out' when talking about MRI and metal hips.


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I did always think mri was not advisable for metal in body but presume if they had your medical notes they knew you had it inside you. It also probably depends on what metal it is. It is basically a big magnet. Hope you get to bottom of it!


Just done quick search and says most metal used for implants are safe ...titatium etc. It's more that the metal distorts the image.






The first has pretty pictures, the second is rather more scientific but there are bits that are easy to understand.

MRI is Magnetic Resonance Imaging - so any ferromagnetic metals must be excluded from the chamber. It is strong enough to make something as heavy as a bed or wheelchair fly across the room - and it has happened! Loose watches, belts and so on have also been known to cause trouble.

It does depend - some things will cause distortion of the image and others will heat up - and obviously something internally that heats is not a good idea!

But give your GP the second link - she should be able to understand it and a bit of education never comes amiss.

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Thankyou very much. Will study this (well with try). So far have discovered that Birmingham Hip is Cobalt/Chrome


That's right - which was why I chose the links I did.

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I hadn’t. Heard that MRIs couldn’t be given for hip replacements but I know I can’t have one because of my pacemaker. I don’t know why a replacement hip would be unsafe for an MRI though.



Hi Polymy

MRIs can usually be given after hip replacements, but they need to be informed first to check things out.


It all depends what material the prosthesis was made of - if there was enough ferromagnetic metal in it the MRI could heat it up considerably. Or if the magnetic field moved the device, whatever it was, even slightly, the risks could be large. So would resetting of programming and settings.

Don't know what your science background is - but this is an interesting read!


and they describe adjustments that can be made to pacemaker design so you can do an MRI.


Mine is an ICD/defibrillator. It is monitored remotely. I have a box in my house and it sends information to the hospital. It is not designed to allow MRI scan.



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