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Magnetic resonance imaging: a useful tool for evaluation of bone prior to implant surgery


Objective: To illustrate the potential for use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to gain full sectional information before placement of osseo-integrated dental implants, with no patient exposure to ionising radiation.

Materials and methods: Four typical cases are illustrated, the patients being imaged in a one tesla MRI scanner. The setting up of the sequences is explained, along with the use of an imaging/surgical template with gadolinium markers.

Results: MRI clearly shows full sectional detail of available bone for safe implant placement, and allows the delineation of cortical and cancellous bone to attain maximum implant length and stability. Vital structures and the floor of the maxillary sinus are clearly shown.

Conclusions: MRI allows the surgeon to assess cases for suitability to place dental implants with confidence. The ability to scan directly at any desired plane, with no reformatting, and to relate this information to a surgical template gives predictable surgery. MRI is a sectional imaging modality giving information about the 3-dimensional relationship of the vital structures, without using ionising radiation. It therefore deserves consideration as an alternative to computed tomography. However, further work is indicated to investigate the relative technical merits of the two imaging modalities


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Gray, C., Redpath, T. & Smith, F. Magnetic resonance imaging: a useful tool for evaluation of bone prior to implant surgery. Br Dent J 184, 603–607 (1998).

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