Can You Have an MRI After Joint Replacement?

The Huffington Post—March 17, 2010

By Helene Pavlov, MD

I guess I am lucky to have great hearing and a radar sensitive ear for discussion about X-rays and medical problems: the other day my ears perked up as I was sitting in a restaurant eaves dropping on two couples speaking about their total joint replacements and imaging studies. They were chatting about postoperative imaging studies and mentioned that "you know, it is not possible to take an X-ray because of the metal in the new joint." The other woman agreed and added that, "I'm glad I can have an MRI and I was told it won't hurt the machine."

Both statements, although somewhat factual, are not totally accurate. The main question is what detail is needed and what is the most appropriate and cost effective imaging examination All of the different types of imaging techniques play a unique role in diagnosing a painful total joint replacement, and have their advantages and drawbacks specific to joint replacement  imagery.

If you are considering a total joint replacement or currently have one and need imaging to evaluate pain or discomfort, speak with your physician about all of the available imaging options. Know your options and make sure your referring physician knows what information he/she is looking for when ordering an imaging study.

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