ABSTRACT Aim: Intervertebral spacers for anterior spine fusion are made of different materials, such as titanium, carbon or cobalt-chrome, which can affect the post- fusion MRI scans. Implant-related susceptibility artifacts can decrease the quality of MRI scans, thwar- ting proper evaluation. This cadaver study aimed to demonstrate the extent that implant-related MRI artifacting affects the post-fusion evaluation of intervertebral spacers. Methods: In a cadaveric porcine spine, we evaluated the post-implantation MRI scans of 2 metallic intervertebral spacers (TiAL6V4, CoCrMo) that differed in shape, material, surface qualities and implantation technique. A spacer made of human cortical bone was used as a control. The median sagittal MRI slice was divided into 12 regions of interest (ROI). Results: No significant differences were found on 15 different MRI sequences read independently by an interobserver-validated team of specialists (P>0.05). Artifact-affected image quality was rated on a score of 0-1-2. A maximum score of 24 points (100%) was possible. Turbo spin echo sequences produced the best scores for all spacers and the control. Only the control achieved a score of 100%. The titanium and cobalt-chrome spacers scored 62.5% and 50%, respectively. Conclusions: Our scoring system allowed us to create an implant-related rank- ing of MRI scan quality in reference to the control that was independent of artifact dimensions. Even with turbo spin echo sequences, the susceptibility artifacts produced by the metallic spacers showed a high degree of variability. Despite optimum sequen- cing, implant design and material are relevant factors in MRI artifacting.
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nullErnstberger, T. , Heidrich, G. and Buchhorn, G. (2010) Imaging characteristics of metallic interbody spacers: in vitro score evaluation of susceptibility artifacts considering different MRI sequences. Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, 3, 181-186. doi: 10.4236/jbise.2010.32023.
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