Score based assessment of implant-related post fusion MRI artifacts focused on different interbody disc spacers: An in vitro study


Interbody disc spacers for anterior spine fusion are made of different materials, such as titanium alloys or carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP). Implant-related susceptibility artifacts can decrease the quality of MRI scans. This cadaveric study aimed to demonstrate the extent that implant-related MRI artifacting affects the post fusion differentiation of the spinal canal (SC) and intervertebral disc space (IDS). In 6 cadaveric porcine spines, we evaluated the post-im- plantation MRI scans of a titanium and CFRP spacer that differed in shape and surface qualities. A spacer made of human cortical bone was used as a control. A defined evaluation unit was divided into regions of interest (ROI) to characterize the SC and IDS. Considering 15 different MRI sequences read independently by an interobserver-validated team of specialists artifact-affected image quality of the median MRI slice was rated on a modified score of 0-1-2-3. A maximum score of 15 points for the SC and 9 points for the IDS (100%) was possible. Turbo spin echo sequences produced the best scores for both spacers and the control. Only the control achieved a score of 100%. For the IDS the titanium and CFRP spacer maximally scored 0% and 74%, for the SC 80% and 99%, respectively. By using favored T1 TSE sequences the CFRP-spacer represented clear advantages in post fusion spinal imaging. Independent of artifact dimensions the used scoring system allowed us to create an implant-related ranking of MRI scan quality in reference to the bone control.

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Ernstberger, T. , Heidrich, G. , Klinger, H. and Baums, M. (2012) Score based assessment of implant-related post fusion MRI artifacts focused on different interbody disc spacers: An in vitro study. Open Journal of Clinical Diagnostics, 2, 23-29. doi: 10.4236/ojcd.2012.22005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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