Mri scans after aneurysm clipping

My partner had his aneurysm clipped back in March 2011. He is due to have an MRI because of problems with his back. Please can anyone tell me if there is any danger for him having an MRI scan?

We have been told by his brain surgeon that the aneurysm clip used is MRI compatible/safe. The clip is made of titanium. But I would really value an opinion/comment/experience on this.

However, his back doctor is at another hospital and asked us to check the compatibility of the clip with MRI use.

Thanking you in anticipation.


You can ask his Neurosurgeon if the clip was tested before insertion. The clip is sometimes tested by placing it in a MRI to determine if there is any rotation by the clip due to the magnetic fields.

This issue is near and dear to me because my wife received the previous generation of clips which used a cobalt alloy. These clips are not MRI compatable and are also affected by everyday electronic devices. The changeover to the new FDA approved titanium clips occurred in 1995. Strangely, the Cobalt clips are still being inserted.

I must also tell you that there is ongoing research that appears to suggest that some titanium clips can fail or deteriorate over time and can become magnetized. Why this is occurring is not understood but one suspect is bodily fluids (such as salts) causing microfractures in the lining of the clips. Having given you the caveats, it would be my opinion to suggest that in all likelihood his clip would be safe. If he does have a MRI, he should pay close attention to how he feels in a MRI. For example, should he experience something like a lip quiver that is one sided he should alert the technician.


Many thanks for such a detailed and personal reply. You have highlighted issues I would never have considered. Really appreciated.

Many thanks again and all the best to you.


Hi Dilys if you have a good radiology dept they will not mri your partner without all the "i's dotted and t's crossed"...I was coiled and my coils are platinum supposedly I am MRI safe...well I have tried unsuccessfully for 2 years to get an MRI of my adrenal glands at the request of one of my Doctors...I can't seem to get the information that allows me the test...and now they have put such fear in me...I donot know I could go through it anyway...good luck to you getting the information...most will want the Manufacturing name, device numbers, etc., keep us posted Colleen

Ed, thanks for the information. How come non of our doctors ever tell us these things. I am having my MRI within the next few weeks, but what concerns me the most is if the clip is failing while at home how would we know? Would there be any noticeable signs?

Hi Colleen, good to hear from you again and many thanks for your reply on this MRI issue. I quite agree with you to get all the i's dotted and t's crossed so we are working on this now and yes it does put such fear in one. It is hard to get a 100% safe commitment from anyone and it is far from a black and white issue.

Hope you are doing ok? Dilys

The good part Dilys ... we learn from each other...Ed gave some good information...

Today, for me is a good day ~ wishing You and Your's a Wonderful Holiday Season~ Colleen

We certainly have learnt from each other! So glad today is a good day for you.

Many thanks for your best wishes for the Holiday Season. Hope you too have a wonderful Christmas and that you have many more good days in the New Year .. Dilys

Take care and I shall keep you posted.

Hi ilys,

I ran into problems getting an MRI done on my lower back afew years ago, and when I told them I had aneurysm clips they wouldn't perform the MRI. I had to contact my surgeons office in order to find out the exact name of the clips used, etc. It wasn't a big deal, I obtained the info within a day or two, and then was able to have the MRI done. Good luck!


Alternatives to a MRI include CT scans (I avoid these at all costs but sometimes it is absolutely necessary) which would have no effect on any type of Aneurysm clips.

A second method would be having an Ultrasound. This is my preferred method and I recently had one because I can’t have MRI’s. It is important that if you have a ultrasound done that a “Well Trained Doctor” also conducts the ultrasound because most technicians are not as thoroughly trained in anatomy. I had my hip reviewed and made sure a Doctor took a second look after the technician had his play.

Hi Janet

Many thanks for your info., much appreciated. We have been told by the neurosurgeon who performed his aneurysm clipping that 'since 1997 all aneurysms used by him are MRI compatible/safe and they are made of titanium'

However through the info. that Ed has sent me even some titanium clips can fail or deteriorate over time and can become magnetized. So that is worrying.

Hope you are doing ok Janet and many thanks again.


Hi Ed

Good to hear from you again. I wondered about either the CT scan or ultrasound and I hope either of these can be used instead of the MRI. My partner had an MRI because of his back problem in 2008 but this was before his brain surgery in 2011 but the surgeon is keen to have an up to date MRI.

He is in so much back pain which also shoots down his leg; he has already had 2 epidural injections, 1 facet root nerve injection, inter-spacer procedure and tried all the pain killers but nothing made a difference. He is now down for the decompression procedure hence the need for an updated MRI.

From my own experience you are so right when you say a 'Well Trained Doctor' performs the ultrasound; it does make all the difference!!

Many thanks again for your invaluable advise Ed - keep it coming!!

Ed, thanks so much for the info related to the cobalt clips/titanium and the issues with some older titanium clips--never even gave that a tought! My 1st clipping was done 1998--(like right on the cusp of old clip/new clip) ...hummmI I guess i'll be checking into the research on exactly which titanium clips are showing fatigue nowadays, thats very important info to be sure. Thanks again, and Dilys, good luck with your partners back issues, I hope the docs are able alleviate his pain! Take care,


Many thanks Janet for your best wishes with my partners back issues. You take care too! Hope you have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.



The integrity of the clip should be no problem for the remainder of your life even if you live beyond 100. What may become a problem, and there is no sure way to determine it short of an autopsy, is the intergranular corrosion of the metal. This intergranular corrosion as pictured on a wikipedia demonstrates how the internal composites could egress into the brain and lead to secondary difficulties such as headaches for example. This example is what is occurring to my wife's cranial sutures as they are kinked beyond the tolerance as designed. Think about how a shoe lace when tied becomes frayed over time. Certainly this would be beyond the scope of the medical community simply because their immediate concern is with saving lives. The problem then becomes "who do we turn to then"?


Complete failure is extremely rare so no need to worry about that. My opinion is that the start of unexplained headaches, especially after a period of time say like weeks or months of having no headaches could be a clue that something more benign is occurring. Unfortunately, so little research is done for post aneurysm patients.

Ed, very true in what you are saying. Like most here, I received no information on what I should 'feel', experience and look for regarding post-op. Only info given was what could happen if operation went wrong and post-op info regarding the stitches, staples or infection. That was all. I am 14 months post op and every pang I get (not headache) I flinch and wonder why this or that. Whenever I bring up a head or vision concern to my neuro it never, of course, has anything to do with the aneurysm or the operation. It is because of this group and people like you that my questions were answered and help has been plentiful. I am so grateful for that.


I had a successful lower back MRI Thursday December 13th. This was 3 months after my clipping surgery. I was assured by my neurosurgeon that the titanium used for the the clips and plates used to hole the skull cap on were perfectly safe for the MRI. In fact, he is the one that ordered the MRI. The technician that performed the MRI did not put me in the machine until she spoke with my Doctor to double check the safety.

It should not be a problem, yet I agree that you should be sure all the Ts are crossed and I dotted before proceeding.



Many, many thanks for letting me know about your experience with the MRI; it is very much appreciated and so good to hear that you did not have a problem with the it; reassuring to hear that your neurosurgeon was confident with you having it done.

Hope you are recovering well after your clipping surgery.

Best wishes Carol for Christmas and to a Happy and Healthy New Year


I am recovering quite well. It has been a little slower due to some heart issues. They are still working on figuring out the leg pain. I also have some shoulder pain.

I hope that the responses here have helped you and your partner in making a decision.