Magnetic Resonance Imaging Susceptibility Artifacts Due To Metallic Foreign Bodies

Hecht S, Adams WH, Narak J, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2011;52:409-414.

Susceptibility artifacts due to metallic foreign bodies may interfere with interpretation of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies. Additionally, migration of metallic objects may pose a risk to patients undergoing MR imaging. Our purpose was to investigate prevalence, underlying cause, and diagnostic implications of susceptibility artifacts in small animal MR imaging and report associated adverse effects. MR imaging studies performed in dogs and cats between April 2008 and March 2010 were evaluated retrospectively for the presence of susceptibility artifacts associated with metallic foreign bodies. Studies were performed using a 1.0 T scanner. Severity of artifacts was graded as 0 (no interference with area of interest), 1 (extension of artifact to area of interest without impairment of diagnostic quality), 2 (impairment of diagnostic quality but diagnosis still possible), or 3 (severe involvement of area of interest resulting in nondiagnostic study). Medical records were evaluated retrospectively to identify adverse effects. Susceptibility artifacts were present in 99/754 (13.1%) of MR imaging studies and were most common in examinations of the brachial plexus, thorax, and cervical spine. Artifacts were caused by identification microchips, ballistic fragments, skin staples/suture material, hemoclips, an ameroid constrictor, and surgical hardware. Three studies were nondiagnostic due to the susceptibility artifact. Adverse effects were not documented.