Magnetic resonance imaging of implanted deep brain stimulators: experience in a large series

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2008;86(2):92-100. doi: 10.1159/000112430. Epub 2007 Dec 12.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a commonly used and important imaging modality to evaluate lead location and rule out complications after deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. Recent safety concerns have prompted new safety recommendations for the use of MRI in these patients, including a new recommendation to limit the specific absorption rate (SAR) of the MRI sequences used to less than 0.1 W/kg. Following SAR recommendations in real-world situations is problematic for a variety of reasons. We review our experience scanning patients with implanted DBS systems over a 7-year period using a variety of scanning techniques and four scanning platforms. 405 patients with 746 implanted DBS systems were imaged using 1.5-tesla MRI with an SAR of up to 3 W/kg. Many of the DBS systems were imaged multiple times, for a total of 1,071 MRI events in this group of patients with no adverse events. This series strongly suggests that the 0.1 W/kg recommendation for SAR may be unnecessarily low for the prevention of MRI-related adverse events.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods
  • Equipment Safety
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Retrospective Studies