Cochlear implant from MEDEL allows for MRI of up to 3 Tesla

The latest cochlear implant from MED-EL, the Synchrony, allows for MRI of up to 3 Tesla. It is the only cochlear implant (CI) on the market capable of doing so.

Cochlear implant from MEDEL allows for MRI of up to 3 Tesla
The Synchrony cochlear implant from MED-EL

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can now be performed without first having to surgically remove the magnet of the device.  The implant also does not need to be secured by strapping or pressure bandage before exposing it to the MRI magnetic field.

The magnet in cochlear implants poses a challenge for MRI imaging. MRI creates a strong magnetic field (measured in Tesla units) that can move and displace the device. It can also create heat, cause pain and the magnet can cast a “shadow” over areas of the brain making it poorly visible. All cochlear implant patients are aware of this and usually where medic-alert bracelets containing a MRI alert.

The life expectancy of the human race is increasing and it is now estimated that children of the next generation will on average live up to a 100 years. With the advances in MRI technology and MRI strength more and more people will likely end up having to go for a MRI in their life. In a study by Wagner and co-workers it was shown that at 10% of their implanted patients required MRI at some point after implantation.

The current CI systems on the market can all be exposed to 1,5 Tesla MRI without having to surgically remove the magnet before imaging, although special strapping is still indicated. Higher Tesla MRI such as the 3 Tesla machines are capable of performing imaging and demonstrating pathology that is not possible with the 1,5 Tesla machines. It is therefore important to consider future MRI technology when choosing an implant for yourself or your child.

For more information on the MED-EL Synchrony 3 Tesla implant kindly contact the practice.