New research provides clinicians with new information about which neurosurgical implant devices are compatible with 7Tesla (7T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning. The findings may persuade clinicians to use advanced, high-resolution MRI technology to help patients with certain implants.
7T MRI technology is considered cutting-edge. Its ultra-high-resolution images can aid in diagnosing and planning surgery for brain tumors, identifying small lesions within the brain, and diagnosing and planning surgery across specialties. However, due to compatibility and safety concerns, many patients with existing neurosurgical implants (such as aneurysm clips, shunts for treating fluid buildup in the brain, and spinal surgery hardware) are denied the benefits of 7T scanning.
According to the researchers, many implants have been tested at lower MRI fields (1.5T, 3T), but only some have been adequately tested at 7T MRI. Because patients with known neurosurgical issues are most likely to require MR imaging, the testing results are particularly limiting in the clinical setting.
While the lack of widespread compatibility testing is disheartening, there is good news for patients with certain neurosurgical implants. Based on the results, the researchers concluded that cranial fixation devices, deep brain stimulation devices, spinal rods, and pedicle screws are likely 7T MRI-compatible.