Safety of MRI in the localization of implanted intracranial electrodes for refractory epilepsy

J Neuroimaging. 2021 May;31(3):551-559. doi: 10.1111/jon.12848. Epub 2021 Mar 30.


Background and purpose: This is an observational study to evaluate the safety of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to localize subdural grids and depth electrodes in patients with refractory epilepsy using a 1.5 Tesla MR scanner.

Methods: We implemented an optimized MRI protocol providing adequate image quality for the assessment of subdural grids and depth electrodes, while minimizing the specific absorption rate (SAR). We reviewed all MRI studies performed in patients with subdural grids and depth electrodes between January 2010 and October 2018. Image quality was graded as acceptable or nonacceptable for the assessment of intracranial device positioning. We reviewed the medical record and any imaging obtained after intracranial implant removal for adverse event or complication occurring during and after the procedure.

Results: Ninety-nine patients with refractory epilepsy underwent MRI scans using a magnetization-prepared rapid acquisition of gradient echo sequence and a transmit-receive head coil with depth electrodes and subdural grids in place. Two patients underwent two separate depth electrode implantations for a total of 101 procedures and MRI scans. No clinical adverse events were reported during or immediately after imaging. Image quality was graded as acceptable for 97 MRI scans. Review of follow-up CT and MRI studies after implant removal, available for 70 patients, did not demonstrate unexpected complications in 69 patients.

Conclusion: In our experience, a low SAR MRI protocol can be used to safely localize intracranial subdural grids and depth electrode in patients with refractory epilepsy.

Keywords: Depth electrodes; magnetic resonance imaging; refractory epilepsy; subdural grids.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / surgery*
  • Electrodes, Implanted / adverse effects*
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult