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MRI with DBS for Patients

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MRI with Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation Systems 

If you have an implanted Medtronic Activa® DBS system (Activa PC, Activa RC, or Activa SC Model 37603), you may have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan anywhere on your body under specific conditions of use.If you have a Medtronic Activa SC Model 37602, Soletra®, or Kinetra® neurostimulator, you may have an MRI head scan under specific conditions of use.*

What Is an MRI?

An MRI is a diagnostic procedure that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to make a detailed image of organs and tissues. When you have an MRI, you lie inside a large tube, and the MRI machine scans the body to create cross-sectional images. The images can be combined into 3D images that can be viewed from different angles.

Why Is MRI Safety Important in a Medical Device?

MRI scans are used to diagnose cancer, stroke, orthopedic problems, and many other conditions. MRI head scans are used to diagnose hearing loss, headache, vision problems, seizures, tumors, and stroke. MRIs are used so often today that seven out of ten people who are candidates for deep brain stimulation may need an MRI within 10 years after implant1 to diagnose a condition. When you have an implanted electronic device, however, you have to be careful about MRI scans. If a DBS system is not designed to be compatible with MRIs, interactions may damage the device or cause serious and permanent injury or death. 

The good news is that all Medtronic DBS systems are designed so that an MRI head scan is possible under specific conditions of use. Activa PC, Activa RC, and Activa SC Model 37603 stimulators are also approved for scans anywhere on the body, under specific conditions of use.

Existing Activa DBS systems were rigorously tested millions of times, considering over 38,800 different implant scenarios, to demonstrate patient safety.

Before Your MRI Scan

If a physician recommends an MRI scan, contact the clinician who manages your treatment with deep brain stimulation. Your clinician will determine whether you are eligible for the MRI scan and will provide guidelines to the radiologist.

If there is an urgent need for an MRI and your physician cannot be reached, tell the radiologist to Contact Medtronic.

Bring the following to your testing center:

  • Your DBS Patient Programmer
  • Your Medtronic Device Identification Card or similar record
  • MRI eligibility information

After Your MRI

The DBS system does not need to be checked by your clinician. If it was turned off for the MRI, it will need to be turned back on. If the device was programmed in bipolar mode and remained on during the MRI scan, it may need to be set back to your normal programming.

* Your doctor and radiologist should refer to MRI Guidelines for Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation Systems

  1. Abstract: Falowski S, Safriel Y, Ryan M, Hargens L. The need for magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in the United States (US) deep brain stimulation (DBS) population. Presented at the North American Neuromodulation Society Annual Meeting, 2014.

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