Evaluation of MRI issues for a new wirelessly powered, spinal cord stimulation lead with receiver

Laura P. Vasquez, Ji Chen, Frank G. Shellock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. MRI is an imaging modality frequently ordered for patients with neuromodulation systems implanted for spinal cord stimulation. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate MRI safety issues (magnetic field interactions, MRI-related heating, functional disturbances, and artifacts) for a new wirelessly powered lead with receiver used for SCS. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Lead samples underwent in vitro evaluation for MRI safety issues using standardized techniques. Magnetic field interactions (i.e., translational attraction and torque) and artifacts were tested at 3 T. MRI-related heating was performed at 1.5 T/64 MHz and 3 T/128 MHz using two different methods: numerical simulations with analytical modeling and physical testing. Possible functional disturbances were evaluated under exposures to 1.5-T/64-MHz and 3-T/128-MHz MRI conditions. RESULTS. The lead exhibited minor magnetic field interactions (22° deflection angle, no torque) at 3 T. The highest temperature change recorded at 1.5 T/64 MHz and 3 T/128 MHz was 3.8°C and 11.3°C, respectively. Exposures to MRI conditions did not damage or alter the functional aspects of the leads. The maximum artifact size seen on a gradient-echo pulse sequence extended approximately 10 mm relative to the size of the lead. CONCLUSION. The MRI tests performed on patients with the new lead with receiver revealed no substantial concerns with respect to the conditions that we provide in the safety guidelines that were based on the results of this investigation. Therefore, MRI examinations will result in acceptable heating when conducted at appropriate whole-body-averaged specific absorption rate levels (i.e., 2.0 W/kg at 1.5 T/64 MHz and 0.3 W/kg at 3 T/128 MHz, corresponding to adjusted temperature rises of 3.6°C and 1.2°C, respectively). Therefore, patients with this wirelessly powered lead and receiver implanted can safely undergo MRI examinations under specific conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-412
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Implants
  • MRI
  • MRI safety
  • Neuromodulation
  • Spinal cord stimulator (SCS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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