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Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and DBS Systems

When you live with a deep brain stimulation (DBS) system, it is important to be aware of electromagnetic interference, or EMI. EMI happens when the electromagnetic field generated by certain household objects, pieces of heavy equipment and medical equipment/procedures interferes with the way an implantable device works.

Ask your doctor about the best way to avoid EMI, and for answers to any questions you may have about how specific equipment can affect your device. 

Medical procedures to avoid

Always inform hospital, clinic and dental staff that you have an implantable device. The following procedures produce EMI and are not considered safe for people with implantable devices:

  • Microwave diathermy
  • MRI scans for people with certain devices
  • Electrohydraulic lithotripters 
  • Cobalt machines
  • Linear accelerators

Be careful of security systems and anti-theft devices

Use caution when approaching anti-theft or security systems and request assistance to bypass the system. If you must proceed, turn off your implantable pulse generator (IPG) and proceed with caution. Move through the device quickly, and check your device status after passing through the detector. These systems include:

  • Theft detectors and anti-theft devices, such as those used at entrances/exits of department stores, libraries, and other public places
  • Airport security screening devices

Avoid certain communication equipment

Certain communication equipment may generate enough EMI to interfere with your system if you approach too closely:

  • Microwave programmers
  • Linear power amplifiers
  • High-power amateur transmitters
  • High voltage power lines

Use caution when approaching this equipment and turn your IPG off if you feel any unusual sensations. Do not turn your IPG on again until you are away from the area.