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If a patient has an implanted medical device that contains metal, then an MR scan can be risky. In an MR environment, the device can pose risks to the patient as well as to the quality of the scan.

The most serious risks to the patient are radio frequency (RF) heating and device migration. The electromagnetic field from an MR scan can heat the device and burn the patient or cause the device to move. The metal in the device can adversely affect the quality of the scan by  distorting the image.

Examples of common implantable metal devices are stents, vena cava filters, and joint implants.

MR safety is a serious issue for patients and physicians, because tens of millions of MR scans are performed each year. If devices aren’t labeled, then patients might undergo—and physicians might perform—MR scans without being aware of the risks.

MED Institute has partnered with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health to analyze the effect of RF heating on passive medical devices. The information from the project will be shared in peer-reviewed manuscripts and other written communications, and will help engineers design new MR safety testing strategies.






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