MRI & Metal Removal

I received my MRI L-Spine “pre-screening” phone call yesterday. This phone call was very similar to the PET/CT pre-screening and about a million questions were asked. Just to name a few…

Do you get claustrophobic?
Do you weigh over 350 pounds?
Do you have any metal implanted in  your body?
Do you have multiple myeloma? (not sure if that was a trick question or not)

The nurse gave me some more information about the test which was very helpful because I’ve never had an MRI before.

Good news: I do not have to fast before the test like the PET/CT (score!) and there’s no radioactive tracer so I don’t have to “rest” by myself for an hour while it settles like the PET/CT (score!).

Bad news: I have to wear a johnny during the scan (yuck) and when I get my blood work done an hour before the MRI they are going to insert a “line” (yuck) so part way through the MRI they can inject the “contrast”. The only other time I’ve had a “line” (picc line? I don’t know what it’s really called) was when I got admitted to the hospital back in May for what I now refer to as the, “Crazy Skin Infection” and was getting mega doses of vancomycin. Not a good time. But that is another story for another day. Anyway, when I had the line while I was in the hospital it totally gave me the heebee jeebees and I’m not looking forward to having another. Oh well, at least it will only be in my arm for a couple hours.

After I got off the phone I realized I had answered, “No” to the Do you have any metal implanted in your body? question and I actually DO have metal in my body. Whoops.

When I got my braces off about 15 years ago or so the orthodontist cemented a wire across the inside of my lower teeth so they wouldn’t shift. I never got the wire removed – it’s not visible when I smile or talk. However, one of my lower teeth shifted anyway. Nice. Every time I go to the dentist the hygienist asks me when I’m getting the wire removed – there is usually plaque build up because it’s hard to brush around.

Anyway, I was a little worried this metal wire could be an issue so I called Dana-Farber back, left a message, and played phone tag a couple times. During this phone tag before I officially spoke to someone at DF,  I decided to be proactive and contact my old orthodontist’s office.  My orthodontist actually retired several years ago but the secretary said I could go in this Saturday to FINALLY get the wire removed. After I booked the appointment to have it removed I heard back from Dana and the nurse said that I actually would be okay to have an MRI with the wire in my mouth because I am just getting an MRI of my spine and not my head. Having metal in area of your body where you are getting an MRI distorts the images apparently. Oh well, still getting the wire removed. My dental hygienist will be thrilled.

Plus, if I ever need an MRI of my head I’ll be good to go. Super.