Safety and image quality of MR-conditional external fixators for 1.5 Tesla extremity MR

David H. Ballard, John D. Garrett, Alberto A. Simoncini, Silvia Barbeito, Massimo “Max” Morandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the safety and image quality of extremity MR examinations performed with two MR conditional external fixators located in the MR bore. Materials and methods: Single-center retrospective study of a prospectively maintained imaging dataset that evaluated MR examinations of extremities in patients managed with external fixations instrumentation and imaged on a single 1.5T MR scanner. The fixation device was one of two MR-conditional instrumentation systems: DuPuy Synthes (aluminum, stainless steel, carbonium and Kevlar) or Dolphix temporary fixation system (PEEK-CA30). Safety events were recorded by the performing MR radiologic technologist. A study musculoskeletal radiologist assessed all sequences to evaluate for image quality, signal- and contrast-to-noise ratios (SNR/CNR), and injury patterns/findings. Results: In the 13 men and 9 women with a mean age of 42 years (range 18 to 72 years), most patients (19/22 patients; 86%) were involved with trauma resulting in extremity injury requiring external fixation. MR examinations included 19 knee, 2 ankle, and 1 elbow examinations. There were no adverse safety events, heating that caused patient discomfort, fixation dislodgement/perturbment, or early termination of MR examinations. All examinations were of diagnostic quality. Fat-suppressed proton density sequences had significantly higher SNR and CNR compared to STIR (p = 0.01 to 0.04). The lower SNR of STIR and increased quality of fat-suppressed proton density during the study period led to the STIR sequence being dropped in standard MR protocol. Conclusion: MR of the extremity using the two study MR conditional external fixators within the MR bore is safe and feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-588
Number of pages8
JournalEmergency Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • External fixator
  • MR artifact
  • MR safety
  • Susceptibility artifact
  • Tibial plateau fracture


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