Therapeutic magnet therapy artifacts on x-ray

Case contributed by Raffi Ourfalian


Constipation for 1.5 months. The patient had 2 sheets of magnets (5 each) attached over his sacroiliac joints, that were subsequently removed by the patient and not seen on the second image.

Patient Data

Age: 60 years
Gender: Male

Discrete small rounded high densities projecting in the pelvis on the first view were magnets (two sheets of 5 each); were subsequently removed by the patient and not seen on the second image. 

Other findings:

No evidence of excessive stool in the colon.

No definitive evidence of small bowel obstruction, discrete mass, or organomegaly.

Moderate degenerative changes are noted in the spine.  Mild sclerosis at the left SI joint. 

Case Discussion

Magnet therapy utilizes static (i.e. unmoving) magnets as an alternative medical practice to alleviate pain and other health concerns. So-called therapeutic magnets are typically integrated into bracelets, rings, or shoe inserts. 

Many well-conducted studies over the past three decades have shown that static magnetic devices offer no more or no less benefit than placebo.  Despite a lack of scientific evidence to support claims that commercially available magnetic therapy devices work, the global sale of therapeutic magnets is estimated to be at least $1 billion a year, according to the BBC. 

This case was submitted with supervision and input from:

Soni C. Chawla, M.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Radiological Sciences
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Olive View - UCLA Medical Center

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Case information

rID: 47271
Published: 10th Aug 2016
Last edited: 7th Aug 2020
Inclusion in quiz mode: Excluded

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