OBJECTIVE To characterize and compare MRI susceptibility artifacts related to titanium and stainless steel monocortical screws in the cervical vertebrae and spinal cord of canine cadavers.
SAMPLE 12 canine cadavers.
PROCEDURES Cervical vertebrae (C4 and C5) were surgically stabilized with titanium or stainless steel monocortical screws and polymethylmethacrylate. Routine T1-weighted, T2-weighted, and short tau inversion recovery sequences were performed at 3.0 T. Magnetic susceptibility artifacts in 20 regions of interest (ROIs) across 4 contiguous vertebrae (C3 through C6) were scored by use of an established scoring system.
RESULTS Artifact scores for stainless steel screws were significantly greater than scores for titanium screws at 18 of 20 ROIs. Artifact scores for titanium screws were significantly higher for spinal cord ROIs within the implanted vertebrae. Artifact scores for stainless steel screws at C3 were significantly less than at the other 3 cervical vertebrae.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Evaluation of routine MRI sequences obtained at 3.0 T revealed that susceptibility artifacts related to titanium monocortical screws were considered mild and should not hinder the overall clinical assessment of the cervical vertebrae and spinal cord. However, mild focal artifacts may obscure small portions of the spinal cord or intervertebral discs immediately adjacent to titanium screws. Severe artifacts related to stainless steel screws were more likely to result in routine MRI sequences being nondiagnostic; however, artifacts may be mitigated by implant positioning.