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On Lithium 400mg. Safe to have MRI with Lithium?

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May 2014
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Radiologist
Practicing since : 2002
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Question
I am on Lithium 400mg and need to have an MRI on my hip.
Will I be safe in the MRI as Lithium is a metal?
Posted Thu, 29 Aug 2013 in X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 57 minutes later
Brief Answer:
MRI scan safe during lithium treatment

Detailed Answer:
Hi Andi.cossar,
Thanks for writing in.

I would like to inform you that lithium in your blood is not a contraindication for MRI scan of your hip. In clinical practice, lithium (Li) salts are used for the treatment of manic-depressive (bipolar) and depressive disorders and they do not affect MRI scan results.

This is because lithium is a paramagnetic substance and these are materials which are not very strongly attracted to the magnet. They are slightly magnetized when placed in a strong magnetic field and act in the direction of the magnetic field. Their relative permeability is slightly more than one. Examples of such materials are magnesium, tin, platinum, lithium, tantalum, aluminum, molybdenum, etc.

MRI machine is a large magnet and scan is affected by presence of Ferromagnetic metals. These are those types of materials which are strongly attracted to a magnet. Their permeability is very high in the range of hundreds and thousands. Examples include chromium oxide, cobalt, ferrite (iron), cadolinium, nickel, rare earth magnet, magnetite, yttrium, etc. These metals strongly affect MRI scan findings.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have doubts

Regards
Dr Vivek
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