Interview: Dr. Nancy Young Discusses MRI in Children with Cochlear Implants Using New Magnet Design

August 6, 2020

HHTM recently caught up with Dr. Nancy Young, the Medical Director of Audiology & Cochlear Implant Programs at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Professor of Pediatric Otolaryngology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dr. Young discussed her recently published research on conducting MRI in children with cochlear implants using a new magnet design found in the MED-EL Synchrony cochlear implant. The findings were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Laryngoscope.


MRI Safety with Cochlear Implants in Children


Cochlear implants contain a small magnet that is used to attach an external sound processor behind the ear. In most implant designs, the magnet has had to be surgically removed before an MRI can be performed, and surgically replaced after the scan, because an MRI scanner also contains a powerful magnet.

A later strategy that was developed to avoid magnet removal utilized a special head wrap to counteract the force on the cochlear implant magnet from the MRI. However, patients would still sometimes report feeling uncomfortable pressure or pain during the MRI, which often produced anxiety.

“MRI has become such an important diagnostic tool for physicians… it’s done for the whole body now for a host of different problems, so having access to safe MRI is important.”

Nancy Young, M.D.

“In the past, our children with cochlear implants when they had MRI, there was so much discomfort that we had to use sedation or anesthesia. So, with the diametric magnet device, we did not have to use anesthesia unless the child was simply too young to stay still… We didn’t have any problems afterwards. So, when the scan was over, whereas in the past we had problems with these axial magnets that were removable rotating and getting out of position, causing pain even after the MRI was over, we didn’t see.”

Click below to watch the interview:



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