Yesterday I took that long, noisy trip inside the MRI machine at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston. The best I can recall it was the seventh MRI I have had. All but two of those tests were for my problematic cervical spine. I was just reviewing my 60 pages of radiological reports on the “premium” VA website. Not all those pages deal with MRI reports. There are a ton of X-rays of knees, chest and feet. These results did give notice of previous bilateral C-spine problems that were treated by different surgeons on two different occasions and who worked from the back and front of the neck. The latter MRI picture exhibited:
“Evidence of status post ACDF with bone graft and anterior fusion with endplate and screws from C5 through C7.”
That is to say the results of my last surgery was seen by the radiologist and it showed what is known as a “Anterior Cervical Diskectomy with Fusion (ACDF). That procedure was accomplished by removing a sliver of hip bone and using it to fuse with a titanium strip fastened with an endplate and screws from the fifth to the seventh cervical vertebrae.
The test is pretty simple. You are stuck inside a tube as an electromagnetic machine presents its cacophony of loud, erratic-sounding noises while it slowly pictures different levels of your inner-workings.
A word of warning: If you experience a mental flameout while listening to all 33 minutes of this video, don’t blame me.
I couldn’t help but wonder, as I imagine most others do as well at some point in time, just why this damn machine is so loud. Never mind that one might picture the different noises, which can sound like anything from a washing machine about to spin out of control to an alarm warning a nuclear meltdown. Rather than try to explain, I found an excellent article from Caltech than lays out the MRI mechanics as well as the why of the loud noises. This column from the American TInnitus Association goes more into the noise aspect and how there are some not-so-loud MRIs out there.
This trip into the tube is to look for possible reasons why I have developed a subset of new pain from my ol’ C-spine. Hopefully, the radiology report might explain why I also suffer occasional tingling in my right bicep. I also hope that whatever it is causing the problems isn’t something too terribly dramatic. These days I would rather look for drama in a novel or on TV.