The effect of simulation strategies on prediction of power deposition in the tissue around electronic implants during magnetic resonance imaging

Bach T. Nguyen*, Julie Pilitsis, Laleh Golestanirad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Numerical simulations are increasingly employed in safety assessment of high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with conductive medical implants such as those with deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices. Performing numerical simulations with realistic patient models and implant geometry is the preferred method as it provides the most accurate results; however, in many cases such an approach is infeasible due to limitation of computational resources. The difficulties in reconstructing realistic patient and device models and obtaining accurate electrical properties of tissue have compelled researchers to adopt compromises, either to exceedingly simplify implant structure and geometry, or the complexity of the body model. This study examines the effect of variations in anatomical details of the human body model and implant geometry on predicted values of specific absorption rate (SAR) values during MRI in a patient with a DBS implant. We used a patient-derived model of a fully implanted DBS implant and performed numerical simulations to calculate the maximum SAR during MRI at 1.5T (64 MHz) and 3T (127 MHz). We then assessed the effect of uncertainties in dielectric properties of tissue, complexity of body model, truncation of body/DBS model, and DBS lead geometry on SAR. Our results showed that 40% variation in the conductivity of individual tissues in a heterogeneous body model caused a peak of 7% variation in maximum SAR value at 64 MHz, and 10.6% variation in SAR at 127 MHz. SAR predictions from a homogeneous body model with a conductivity range of 0.01 S m-1 → 1 S m-1 could cover the full range of SAR variations predicted by the heterogeneous body model. Truncation of body model below the implanted pulse generator changed the predicted SAR by 16% at 1.5T and 32% at 3T while saving 250% and 148% in computational time and memory allocation, respectively. In contrast, variation in DBS lead geometry significantly changed the SAR by up to 51% at 64 MHz and 67% at 127 MHz. These results suggest that the error introduced by simplifying the implant's geometry could negate the benefit of using a realistic body model, should such model be used at the expense of oversimplifying implant geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number185007
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 21 2020


  • MRI
  • RF heating
  • finite element method
  • implants
  • numerical models
  • safety
  • statistical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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