On this page you'll find information about getting an MRI if you're receiving Medtronic DBS Therapy for dystonia.* Only Medtronic provides safe access to MRI anywhere on the body with some Medtronic DBS systems under certain conditions — giving your doctor an important tool for diagnosis.

Your Device

Eligible patients with an implanted Medtronic Activa™ PC or Activa™ SC Model 37603 neurostimulator may have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan anywhere on the body under certain conditions.

Eligible patients with a Medtronic Activa™ SC Model 37602, Soletra™ or Kinetra™ neurostimulator may have an MRI head scan under certain conditions.

Access to the Care You May Need

An MRI is a diagnostic imaging tool that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed pictures of the organs and tissues inside your body. According to the American College of Radiology, MRI is a valuable diagnostic tool for stroke, dementia, movement disorders, cancer, seizures, joint and muscle pain, and cardiac issues. Approximately 7 out of 10 DBS-eligible patients with movement disorders may need an MRI within 10 years of receiving their device.1

Tested. Demonstrated. Safe.

The technology of some Medtronic DBS systems is designed to protect patients and the device during an MRI. We know it's important that you have safe access to MRI. That's why we performed rigorous testing:

  • 14 years of MRI research and testing history
  • 10 million simulated patient scans performed using 38,800 scan conditions such as patient size and patient position within the MRI machine

Your DBS Therapy — Uninterrupted

Some Medtronic DBS devices may remain on, when programmed to certain conditions, while you have an MRI. You may take comfort in knowing that the device can remain on (if programmed to the right settings) to control your symptoms. This may allow the quality of the image to be improved if the movement symptoms related to the disease are reduced.

Contact Your Doctor Before Having an MRI

You must inform the doctor who manages your Medtronic DBS Therapy that an MRI examination has been prescribed for you. Your doctor needs to determine what type of MRI scan you are eligible to receive.

Depending on what kind of Medtronic DBS system components that you have implanted, you may be eligible for one of the following types of MRI scans:

  • MRI scans of the head only (this is referred to as head-only eligible)
  • MRI scans of any part of your body (this is referred to as full-body eligible)

Before your MRI appointment always read the MRI examinations section of your patient manual.

Healthcare professionals should always obtain the latest MRI Guidelines for Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation Systems.

Medtronic contact numbers are 763-505-5000 and 800-328-0810.

Bring to Every MRI Appointment

  • Your patient identification (ID) card for your Medtronic DBS system. If you have two DBS systems implanted in your body, bring both ID cards
  • Your MRI scan eligibility sheet if the clinician managing your Medtronic DBS Therapy gave you one
  • Your patient programmer

Preparing Your DBS System for the MRI Scan

Your implanted DBS system (therapy) may need to be turned off before your MRI scan or reprogrammed to allow the system to safely remain on during your MRI scan. This will depend on the neurostimulator model implanted in your body, the therapy settings of your neurostimulator, and the type of MRI scan you are eligible to receive.

Your doctor who manages your DBS Therapy will tell you whether your system should be on or off during the MRI scan. If the doctor says it should be turned off or the settings should be changed before you receive an MRI scan, refer to your patient programmer manual for instructions.

After the MRI

After the MRI scan and outside of the MRI scanner (magnet) room, you can turn therapy back on using your patient programmer, or the doctor who manages your DBS can do it.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.


Humanitarian Device - Authorized by Federal Law as an aid in the management of chronic, intractable (drug refractory) primary dystonia, including generalized and/or segmental dystonia, hemidystonia, and cervical dystonia (torticollis), in patients seven years of age or above. The effectiveness of the devices for treating these conditions has not been demonstrated.

Medtronic DBS systems are MR Conditional which means they are safe for MRI scans only under certain conditions. If the conditions are not met, the MRI could cause tissue heating especially at the implanted lead(s) in the brain which may result in serious and permanent injury or death. Before having an MRI, always talk with the doctor who manages your DBS to determine your eligibility and discuss potential benefits and risks of MRI. For further information, please call Medtronic at 1-800-328-0810.


Falowski S, Safriel Y, Ryan MP, Hargens L. The rate of magnetic resonance imaging in patients with deep brain stimulation. Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2016; 94(3):147-153.