OBJECTIVES: Simultaneous intracranial EEG and functional MRI (icEEG-fMRI) recordings in humans, whereby EEG is recorded from electrodes implanted inside the cranium during fMRI scanning, were made possible following safety studies on test phantoms and our specification of a rigorous data acquisition protocol. In parallel with this work, other investigations in our laboratory revealed the damage caused by the EEG electrode implantation procedure at the cellular level. The purpose of this report is to further explore the safety of performing MRI, including simultaneous icEEG-fMRI data acquisitions, in the presence of implanted intra-cranial EEG electrodes, by presenting some histopathological and heat-shock immunopositive labeling observations in surgical tissue samples from patients who underwent the scanning procedure.

METHODS: We performed histopathology and heat shock protein expression analyses on surgical tissue samples from nine patients who had been implanted with icEEG electrodes. Three patients underwent icEEG-fMRI and structural MRI (sMRI); three underwent sMRI only, all at similar time points after icEEG implantation; and three who did not undergo functional or sMRI with icEEG electrodes.

RESULTS: The histopathological findings from the three patients who underwent icEEG-fMRI were similar to those who did not, in that they showed no evidence of additional damage in the vicinity of the electrodes, compared to cases who had no MRI with implanted icEEG electrodes. This finding was similar to our observations in patients who only underwent sMRI with implanted icEEG electrodes.

CONCLUSION: This work provides unique evidence on the safety of functional MRI in the presence of implanted EEG electrodes. In the cases studied, icEEG-fMRI performed in accordance with our protocol based on low-SAR (≤0.1 W/kg) sequences at 1.5T using a head-transmit RF coil, did not result in measurable additional damage to the brain tissue in the vicinity of implanted electrodes. Furthermore, while one cannot generalize the results of this study beyond the specific electrode implantation and scanning conditions described herein, we submit that our approach is a useful framework for the post-hoc safety assessment of MR scanning with brain implants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119129
Pages (from-to)119129
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • Electrocorticography
  • Electrodes, Implanted/adverse effects
  • Electroencephalography/methods
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Radio Waves


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