MRI Safety: Physics, Standards, and Open Problems

Skill level: Basic-Intermediate
Steven M. Conolly, Ph.D., Mark A. Griswold, Ph.D., Organizers

Sunday, 20 May


On balance, MRI enjoys an enviable safety record. However, there have been a small number of incidents reported, including some fatalities in the scanner. Here we discuss potential risks and quantify the relevant physical quantities where possible. Methods of accident prevention are addressed.

Educational Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:
Describe interactions with the ferrous metals and the main field (projectile safety);
Explain RF safety including RF burns and SAR scaling and prevention rules;
Assess gradient field safety concerns including magnetic stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation;
List scaling rules for all three of the safety issues listed above with field strength;
Describe methods of monitoring these safety issues;
Explain methods of mathematical models (analytic and computational) to predict safety margins; and
Describe special concerns for patients with implanted devices (e.g. pacemakers or metal implants).


This course is designed for:
Graduate students studying the technology of MRI, and physicians looking to understand the basic physics of MRI safety.
One year of university physics, and some knowledge of the physics of MRI (e.g., what are the three main magnetic fields necessary for MRI)
  are assumed.
08:30 Background and History of MRI Safety Roger Luechinger, Ph.D.
09:00 Physics and Biology of High Field MRI Safety John Schenck, M.D., Ph.D. 
09:30 Gradient stimulation  Blaine A. Chronik, Ph.D.
10:00 Break - Meet the teachers  
10:30 RF Coil safety  Arne Reykowski, Ph.D.
11:00 Implications from  safety modeling:  RF and Gradient - not available Stuart Crozier, Ph.D.
11:30 Ways to reduce SAR (RF pulses, Tx Sense) Ulrich Katscher;   Dr. Katscher wishes to 
  acknowledge the contribution of Dr. Ingmar
12:00 Break Graesslin to the development of this talk.
12:00 - 12: 15 - Meet the teachers  
13:30 Metallic Implants and Pacemakers safety issues Jean A. Tkach, Ph.D.
14:00 Interventional device safety  Steffen Weiss, Ph.D.
14:30 BioMonitoring in the Scanner: Challenges for Current and  Nathan J. McDannold, Ph.D. 
Future Procedures  
15:00 Adjournment  
15:00 - 15:15 - Meet the Teachers