Answer to Question #10931 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — MRI
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
I have injured my ankle and the doctor recommended magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because the x ray didn't show any obvious fractures. I am 69 years old and prediabetic. My brother has been diagnosed with vascular disease and I have severe varicose veins. My ankle is swollen and slightly discolored. I am concerned that the magnetics might dislodge a clot and release it into my circulatory system. Is there any history of this happening?
The magnetic fields from the MRI will not cause any clots that may be present to be dislodged. This is because the magnetic susceptibilities (i.e., the degree of torque or "twisting" of a material in response to an applied magnetic field) of the majority of human tissues is weak or very weak. MRI is one of several methods that have been used safely for many years to evaluate the presence and extent of thrombosis (clots).
Jerrold T. Bushberg, PhD, DABMP, FAAPM
Clinical Professor, Radiology and Radiation Oncology