So, we went out Saturday to celebrate Amy’s mom’s birthday (she doesn’t like it when I refer to her as my mother-in-law :) ) and Amy’s sister told me since a portion of the first pin they tried to put in my ring finger broke off — and is now lodged in the bone — I’ll never be able to have an MRI…. Could this be true?

The potential scenario seems gruesome.

21 thoughts on “mri

  1. Cindy Scroggins

    Not true. You simply need to point out the presence of the pin, and the technician will take steps to protect it (you) during the procedure. It is possible that you might not be able to have an MRI of that finger.

  2. Ross Bonadonna

    I think they can focus the MRI so that you could still have one on another part of your body, I have a plate in my shoulder from a bicycle crash (broken collar bone) and was told that my shoulder could not be MRI’ed (the magnetic force could rip the thing right out! (nice!)).

  3. Cindy Scroggins

    Where’s Vin when we need him? Good MRI teams can work with metal in the body. The exceptions are things like ferromagnetic aneurysm clips and bullets, which could move and cause injury. It may well be possible to still have an MRI of your injured finger, depending on the location of the pin.

  4. Michael Smith

    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.

  5. Andrew Simone

    I believe Cindy and Ross are correct.

    Completely unrelated, Ross, I love how your site explains that the recording studio is right around the street from Freddy’s.

  6. Deron Bauman

    okay, awesome. this makes sense. the pin is the type that is supposed to be removed, but apparently I have really dense bone and the first attempt broke off and will be permanent. I’ll definitely be talking to any MRI-ist in my future.

  7. Cindy Scroggins

    By the way, I absolutely love MRIs. I would volunteer in a heartbeat for a study on how long a person can stay inside an MRI machine. I only had one once, but I went into an alternate state–like being in a sensory deprivation chamber. It was one of the most calming experiences of my life.

  8. vin.

    Cindy–I’m around… No one (besides Amy’s sister) has disseminated any incorrect information, and it looks like you guys have taken care of that quickly through the power of the intertubes.

    Deron– As a board certified radiologist, I will gladly be your MRI consultant (or MRI-ist, if you prefer.)

  9. Mike Dresser

    I had an MRI while there were two 3-inch-long screws in my foot. Freaked me right out. “There’s screws in there! Screws!” I shouted to everyone who would listen; on the disclaimer form, I circled the ankle twice and drew arrows.

    And…nothing. In spite of my searching for any budge, I didn’t feel a thing. I believe it’s only loose metal in the soft tissue that’s a problem.

    I’m with Cindy on the loving MRIs bit. The moment the thing started squawking, I was back in Advanced Analysis class, listening to Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. The way different sounds gradually faded in and out, overlapping and syncopating! I was a little sorry when it was over.

  10. Deron's sister-in-law

    Actually, what I said was that I had shrapnel in my jaw, and was concerned because I saw an episode of House where the metal was attracted to the MRI’s magnet. I told Deron he should let a family member know that he had a pin in his hand in case he was unconscious.
    Looks like I was right. If I have an MRI, the pieces of shrapnel will be pulled out of the soft tissue through my face. Guess it’s better to get medical information from House than a blog. And still a good idea to let someone know if you have a piece of metal in your body BEFORE you have any medical procedures.

  11. Barbara

    Amy’s sister did not get her information from an episode of House or from Grey’s Anatomy. Also, it is not misinformation. She was told by her physician that she should tell the tech, if she ever needed an MRI, that she has shrapnel in her jaw because it would be ripped out through her cheek. It is a real danger and something to be aware of as indicated by at least two comments above. The intention of Amy’s sister was not to keep him updated on medical curiosities but to protect Deron from further harm.

  12. David Grossblatt

    I have seen every episode of House and Grey’s Anatomy. Deron i suggest you ask your Surgeon and not a bunch of shade tree mechanic’s.But your a bright guy and i suspect you posted this to have spiffy conversation

  13. Deron Bauman

    wow. my apologies to everyone. this post has caused responses I certainly didn’t intend. my reference to house was less about the source of the information, and more about trying to understand if the way the show presented the information was the full picture. again, my apologies. I wasn’t trying to throw anyone under the bus, if that seemed to be the case. I was trying, as David suspected, to have an interesting conversation, and to get the details from people like Cindy and Vin who I assumed, rightly, would have more to add to the conversation. again, my apologies.

  14. Mike Dresser

    Dammit, Deron, you and your questions.

    For reals, though, I enjoy any opportunity to talk about giant magnets potentially ripping out/ignoring bits of metal in the body. Always an appropriate conversation topic, always.

  15. Michael Smith

    I hope nothing I said hurt any feelings. After seeing the images of chairs, oxygen tanks, floor polishers, ect., lodged in MRI machines I simply thought that it was something odd that might have shown up on one of the shows mentioned above. I did not mean to imply that only people who watch those shows would believe metal could be pulled violently toward a giant magnet.

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