Safety of simultaneous scalp or intracranial EEG during MRI: A review

Hassan B. Hawsawi*, David W. Carmichael, Louis Lemieux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the brain and its activity is one of the great challenges of modern science. Normal brain activity (cognitive processes, etc.) has been extensively studied using electroencephalography (EEG) since the 1930's, in the form of spontaneous fluctuations in rhythms, and patterns, and in a more experimentally-driven approach in the form of event-related potentials (ERPs) allowing us to relate scalp voltage waveforms to brain states and behavior. The use of EEG recorded during functional magnetic resonance imaging (EEG-fMRI) is a more recent development that has become an important tool in clinical neuroscience, for example for the study of epileptic activity. The purpose of this review is to explore the magnetic resonance imaging safety aspects specifically associated with the use of scalp EEG and other brain-implanted electrodes such as intracranial EEG electrodes when they are subjected to the MRI environment. We provide a theoretical overview of the mechanisms at play specifically associated with the presence of EEG equipment connected to the subject in the MR environment, and of the resulting health hazards. This is followed by a survey of the literature on the safety of scalp or invasive EEG-fMRI data acquisitions across field strengths, with emphasis on the practical implications for the safe application of the techniques; in particular, we attempt to summarize the findings in terms of acquisition protocols when possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
JournalFrontiers in Physics
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2017


  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy
  • Gradient safety
  • Implanted electrodes
  • MR safety
  • Neuroscience
  • Radiofrequency safety
  • Thermal injury


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