An Up-date and and kind of an odd question

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White Beard
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   Posted 3/2/2011 8:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello my Chronic Pain Forum members, or shall I say my family. I have seen my surgeon  last Monday, and he has released me from his care.  Although he told me if I have any problems at all or questions, not to hesitate to call him, because once he does surgery on a person, he is always there for that person for as long as he is ever needed. Which is really nice to know! Anyway they took X-rays of my neck Monday and I got to see first hand what he did to me last November. I was kind of surprised, I know he told me he was going to fuse the articular joints at C-3/4 on each side, using the bone from the spineous process on the vertebra as the graft material and then brackets to hold it together. I was thinking the brackets would be like the one used when I had the ACDF at C-5/6 the year before. But that was not the case, I have two 2 to 2 1/2 inch rods in the back of my neck, one on each side, for each articular joint, the rods are attached to the C-3/4 vertebra by two post for each rod.  It is no wonder I have a stiff neck and I have lost allot of my  mobility  in my neck!
I  have continued to have problems with my lower back and hips especially my right hip! Monday morning I had two MRI's one of my lower back and then of my hips. I had an arthrogram with an MRI of my right hip last summer, and I had problems with have the MRI, and had to be taken out of it because I was getting hot like I was being cooked in it. This time I refused to have the MRI in that machine, and they had me go to their other clinic where they have a new MRI machine. Well the first MRI of my  lower back was about 25 minutes, toward the end the scans the machine was making the very rapid higher pitch pinging, and around my lower stomach and pelvic region, and my my hand ( as they were down on the side of my body) started heating up, and I mean the heat was very intense, and it was starting to make me sick, so I yelled out and pressed the emergency button, and they took me out of the machine, but luckily it was right at the end of last scan, so I did not have to have it done again. I was really red and hot around the scanned area a sweating, they gave me water and let me walk around. They then turned on a fan and I had to get back in the machine for a slightly shorter scan of my hips. This time my head and shoulders was actually sticking out of the machine.  The started the scan and everything went well untill the machine started doing the very rapid high pitched pinging, and I again started feelin heat, it was like I was heating up in the inside, and this time it was just in my pelvic and hip area, they had my hands on my chest and it did not affect them. I managed to hold out till the end of the scan, but I felt like I was cooking from the inside out, my skin was really red and hot to the touch, and  well, I will tell I am now very aftaid of these machines, and I have many many MRI's before and never had a reaction like this, till last summer and this past Monday. Have any of you in our chronic pain family ever experienced anything like this while having an MRI?????. I can't imagine what it would be like to have to have an MRI of my neck or head again. I don't think I would have it done, this has really scared me an has shaken me up!!. I googled this problem and an have found some disturbing information about people getting 1st, 2nd degree  and worse, burns from the MRI machine.  I always thought this was a very benign test not like a Cat Scan with the X-rays, but now I am not so sure. Anyway I just thought I would check in with you folks to see if any of you have had any experience with being over heated or cooked in an MRI machine.
The other news is I finished with Physical Therapy for my neck and  I had my initail exam today for pulmonary rehab and I start that program this Monday three days a week, for 24 sessions, it is a monitored exercise program, at the hospital, where  they are trying to build up my stamina and improve my respiratory capabilities. I have problems with fluid retention and shortness of breath! Too many things going on right now!
Thanks for listening!
White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!

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Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 3/2/2011 9:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, sorry you had such a jarring experience with that. I've never heard of anything like that myself either. Make sure to talk to your doctor about it asap. Bring up the stories you read of people being burnt from it, and see what he says. Very interesting...and scary. Hope you figure that out and don't have it ever happen again!

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 3/2/2011 9:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I've heard of stories of reactions to MRIs before, but never before by someone who experienced it. Two in a row, too. That's really strange. I'm sorry you had to deal with it. I do wonder what could cause something like that. I also thought you could not have MRIs with implanted metal objects like the braces you have in your neck. Well, I hope you are ok and that you don't have to go through that experience again, and that the pulmonary rehab goes well.

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   Posted 3/2/2011 10:27 PM (GMT -6)   
The titanium used in the rods and screws can heat up and cause burns. Also anyeurism clips, and other implanted metals in the body. Do you have tatoos WB? The metal flakes in the colors can also cause burns as well. I would check out their inspection certificates for both facilities through the health department in your area and see when the last time the machines were inspected were.
Also ask when the last time they were calibrated was.......there might be a problem with the particular brand and type of machine being used.
Did you tell the technicians about the high pitched sound? What did they say about your reaction to the testing?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 3/3/2011 1:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry you had such a horrible experience, WhiteBeard. I take it this was one of the old fashioned MRI machines that are more enclosed. Perhaps next time you need one done your doctor can refer you to an office that has an open Air machine. It's a lot more comfortable, though I felt kinda like a pizza laying there on the big round table.
MrsM brings up some valid points to look into, though hopefully you won't need any more MRI's for awhile now.
Originally injured 10/26/2007 - Initial diagnosis; Tendonitis
Spent next year seeing specialist after specialist; Bone, Muscle, Hand, Neurologist, Chriopractor, Physical Therapist...
Went through a battery of tests, multiple MRI's
11/16/09 I was finally diagnosed CRPS - Stage 2
Permanently disabled, on Percoset.
February 2011 successful SCSU trial
No surgeon willing to do my SCSU Implant

White Beard
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3686
   Posted 3/3/2011 1:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the replies, no I don't have any Tatoos and all the hardware is in my neck except for the clip when I had my gall bladder out, and everything was Ok'd for the MRI, in fact I had no problem with the heat where the hardware is. The heat was just in the area that was in the scan! Anyway This is one of the sites that I was talking about and a excerpt from it. Note the second paragraph/

RF Burns

RF burns are usually due to conductive leads on the subjects bare skin. Metallic leads can act like antennae, with the result being inductive heating of the conductor from the time-varying RF field. The rapidly changing magnetic field induces emf (voltage) in the conductor (lead), resulting in the flow of current through the conductor, leading to heating of the conductor, which can cause a burn if there is contact with the skin. The maximum induction of current occurs when the plane of the conducting loop is perpendicular to that of the changing magnetic field.

In addition, conducting loops can be formed within the body itself, without external metallic conductors. This occurs, for example, when the hands are joined together and can result in heating at the high-resistance skin-to-skin contact point. Similarly, this can occur if the calves are touching.

Tattoos, especially extensive or dark tattoos, and including tattooed eyeliner, can also act as conductors, and tissue heating can occur. Subjects should be evaluated for type and location of tattoo before the scanning procedure. Cold compresses or ice packs can be placed in the tattooed area, though this may not be desirable during a functional imaging experiment.


Here is one more sites that has some information and it also talks about the skin to skin contact, I do not know if this is what happened to me but, I did talk at length to the techs about it and they seemed to be baffled by it too!

Here is an excerpt from this web site:

These incidents included first, second, and third degree burns that were experienced by patients. In many of these cases, the reports indicated that the limbs or other body parts of the patients were in direct contact with transmit body radiofrequency (RF) coils or other transmit RF coils of the MR systems. In other cases, skin-to-skin contact points were suspected to be responsible for these injuries, however, the exact mechanism responsible for these incidents is unknown.

This is a bit unsettling since I have experenced it first hand on multiple occassions!


White Beard


Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!

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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 3/3/2011 2:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Wow, WB!! I've never heard of that before so I'm guessing you're one of the few who just either can't have MRI's or may turn into a torch if you do. That is a bit frightening but at least you know now that if any doctors recommend one that they have to read your reports first and I doubt they will proceed.

Sounds like you'll be mighty busy with your PT and all. I'm not as brave as you are with your neck hardware. Sometimes I've find looking at my own x-rays but after seeing the pictures of your neck a couple of days after surgery, I wouldn't want to see the x-rays of the 'junk yard' you call your neck!

Warm but gentle hugs,
Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
Daily Donnybrook: Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis (especially in right hand and neck) and a couple of other adjunct agitations.

"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love." Albert Einstein

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   Posted 3/3/2011 2:51 AM (GMT -6)   
Wow WB How scary. I have clostaphobia, so I had an open MRI when I had mine. Maybe that's what you need to get if you have to have an MRI again, but hopefully you won't have to have any more MRIs for a while anyway.

I hope you're ok. Take care of yourself.

love and hugs
Dx: osteoarthritis, bursitis in left hip, Osteoarthrits in right hip, compression fracture in thoracic spine due to falling on frozen ground March 2001 , ddd, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, osteoarthritis in spine, osteoarthritis in both knees

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Date Joined Jul 2008
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   Posted 3/3/2011 5:05 AM (GMT -6)   
I have never heard of this. How horrible to have to go through that WB! I get pretty claustraphobic in the enclosed machines and sometimes they have to sedate me to finish the scans, but nothing like this has ever happened to me. I have two staples in my right knee and they are always careful that I'm not going to cause them to be ripped out.

I've heard some horror stories, but this one I think is one of the top 10!!


I live to "Tame My Pain!"

Retired Mom
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Date Joined Feb 2010
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   Posted 3/3/2011 8:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi WB,

I'm sorry you had such a horrible experiece. Please excuse me if I repeat another post's suggestion, but I did't get to read them all.

Have you ever had any kind of metal work (such as welding) or anything that produces minute particles of metal. I know this has been a problem with military vets who have schrapnel (sp?) in their bodies and also with people who have unknown metal fragments from a previous job or hobby.

I have the rods/screws in my back, but they don't give me the burning sensation. I do, however, burn (I guess mildly) during MRI's. It's like my blood is boiling or something and I'm sweating down. I always ask them to turn the air as cold as possible and turn the fans on high. Then I ask them to put a damp cloth over my eyes during the procedure (it just makes me more relaxed).

I hate that you had this happen (especially twice) and I hope you will find the answers you need from the procedures.

All my best!
Failed fusion L5-S1, Pituatary damage, HGH Def, Fibro, Bladder surgery failure, Nissen Failure, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CTS (Bilateral Surgery completed), CFS, TMJ, Migraines, Vit D, A, Magnesium deficiency, Pre-glaucomic (sp?), HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia, Edema, too many Drug/Food allergies, sensitivites, and current meds to list.

solar powered
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Date Joined Nov 2007
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   Posted 3/3/2011 8:38 AM (GMT -6)   
White Beard, all I can say is WOW! I have had many MRI's and never had that issue or even heard of it as a possible problem. I am sorry that you had to experience that. Keeping my fingers crossed that you never need another MRI ever.

Hope and attitude are everything. Never, never, ever give up.

Screaming Eagle
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Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 3/3/2011 9:31 AM (GMT -6)   


       WB, I can understand the concern with this experience. I never have liked the MRI, and have had several of them over the last several years. The last one was an "open-Air" type, and the most comfortable.

     I remember well when I had the "open Air" MRI done, I had forgotten to take off my wedding band, and I panicked, and started hollering and waving my arms at the Tech to get her attention. She said it was not a problem, so I clamed down and continued on with the test.

      You have every right to be concerned about your experience. and I would be personally leary of going back to the same place for another one.

        When a Tech leaves the room for their own safty during this process, that is enough to unsettle anyone!

         Hope your doing well, and that the healing continues.

          SE wink       

Mrs. Dani
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   Posted 3/3/2011 10:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear White Beard,

    Good morning! Goodness, it is good to hear from you. I hope you are doing a bit better today. You have been through so much this last year. I just don't know how you do and still remain so positive. I really admire that about you.  :-)

     I was a little unnerved to hear about your experience with the MRI machine. I have had many done and had never had the sensation you describe. One time when I went into my series (all three sections) we had to stop after the Lumbar section because the machine was over heating. He was waiting on a repairmen to fix the air conditioning. When I was done with the lumbar (I get 20 min break in-between each section. Each section is 45 min ) he informed me that the machine was 98 degrees and he had to shut it down or risk damaging the equipment. I tell you, it did not seem that hot to me at all. 

    What I have been reading about concerning burns and even brain damage from MRI machines is very unsettling. It even talks about tattoos and make-up tattoos (permanent make-up) causing burns. I never knew!!! I have never heard of that possible risk ever being mentioned when I have gone in for MRIs. It would have been nice to know of these possible risks!

     Is there any sort of imaging that you can use instead of MRI? I must admit that if I were in your shoes, I would avoid MRIs all together. The risks associated with the MRI machines are frightening. Not something to mess around with. Have you mentioned these experiences with your doctor?

     I hope you continue to heal from your surgery. You have been through the ringer this last year and it would be nice to have it al behind you. KNow you are in our hearts and prayers!


TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

Chronic Pain Moderator

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   Posted 3/3/2011 9:24 PM (GMT -6)   
   Dear White Beard , I'm so sorry your expierencing so much difficulty right now , I really hope things get better soon and you continue to heal from the surgery . I didn't have any idea about the MRI causing burns thats scary , I may be taking an MRI soon too , and although I've done it before without any problem its good to be aware of everything . I've never expierenced the heat sensation when having an MRI , I've had perhaps 3 of them done on my hip area before my hip replacement surgery . I'm very glad you made it through your MRI , I hope it doesn't happen ever again and that you feel better very soon . Your Friend , Mikel 

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Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 98
   Posted 3/3/2011 10:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Hugs to you White Beard. I hope you are feeling better. The MRI stuff is a bit scary. During my last one I could feel the machine getting hot where my hand rested, but nothing else. Scary stuff indeed.

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Date Joined Aug 2008
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   Posted 3/6/2011 8:15 PM (GMT -6)   

I think I've told you this before.... but yes I've had the overheated thing happen w/ my last two MRIs - to the point where I am now frightened to have another. The last one - I panicked....had to have the tech pull me out and they were putting ice packs on my head, chest, etc.

No - I don't have any tatoos (though I want to get one of a cross...but that's another story!).... just a small metal screw in my right foot.... nothing else really.

I don't know WB... but it's a scary feeling, isn't it?

Thinking of you, and praying for you always. --Tina
Main Health Issues: Dysautonomia/POTS; CFS/Fibro; Chronic Pain (back issues, migraines, carpal tunnel, among other things); Chronic Hypertension; Hypothyroidism and Hypoadrenalism; Mixed Sleep Apnea (on BiPap); Depression/Anxiety; Vitamin D Deficiency.

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Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 3/22/2011 7:10 AM (GMT -6)   
So I had my new set of MRIs yesterday and something that happened reminded me of this thread. I had to share it. When they were advancing the bed into the tube they realized that my shoulders were too wide and my arms would be in full contact with the machine as a result. They backed me out and cocooned me in pillowcases and sheets, saying that otherwise the machine would burn me. Now this definitely had to be the smallest MRI machine I've ever been in (they had to take all the pads out to get my head to fit in the bracket), but I've had plenty of MRIs before and my arms have always rested against the sides. So I thought it was all a bit silly. Until about the third image set when I realized that I could feel the heat of the machine through my cocoon and it was very hot. Without the sheets it would have been crispified arm hot. I was very glad the techs were proactive. It's not the same kind of no contact heat over large areas exposed to the machine's scans, but I still found it interesting to encounter a machine that creates so much heat and that the techs were aware of it. Ok, interesting story complete. Hope everyone is having a low pain day and even some fun.


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   Posted 3/22/2011 10:43 AM (GMT -6)   
WhiteBeard, sorry to be late in posting as I'm ill.
Anyways the scan is over for now, make sure to let all
your doctor's know of this reaction. I will keep you in my Prayers
tonight in hopes the respitory program works for you...I have been thinking of you and
well wishes, healing hugz and many Prayers...
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...
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