Therapeutic magnet therapy artifacts on x-ray
58 year old male presenting with constipation for 1.5 months. The patient had 2 sheets of magnets (5 each) attached over his sacroilliac joints, that were subsequently removed by the patient and not seen on the second image.
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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.
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.
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, 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.
Department of Radiological Sciences
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Olive View - UCLA Medical Center
- BBC News. "Magnets therapies 'have no effect'. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4582282.stm
- Pittler MH, Brown EM, Ernst E. Static magnets for reducing pain: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2007;177(7):736-742. doi:10.1503/cmaj.061344.
- Finegold Leonard, Flamm Bruce L. Magnet therapy BMJ 2006; 332 :4