Background: Surgical staples are commonplace in repairing surgical incisions. Staples allow for expeditious closure and removal compared with suture materials. However, there are clinical concerns when obtaining a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan with staples present. This study examined two issues related to MRI scanning in the presence of surgical staples: skin surface temperature change and staple displacement.
Methods: Thirty pig feet had 3-cm surgical incisions repaired with five surgical staples. Once placed, each skin staple position was marked for later referencing. A surface temperature laser device recorded prescan skin surface temperature. A 35-minute MRI scan was performed with a 1.5-Tesla magnet and standard knee coil for each pig foot. Immediately afterward, the skin surface temperature and displacement measurements were recorded. The paired t test was used to analyze temperature change from prescan to postscan.
Results: The prescan mean temperature was 16.45°C (standard deviation: 0.70°C), and the range was 14.60°C to 18.20°C. After scanning, the mean temperature was 16.02°C (standard deviation: 0.63°C), and the range was 15.00°C to 17.60°C. The decrease of 0.43°C in skin surface temperature was statistically significant (p = 0.001). No change in staple position was measurable or evident by visual inspection for any of the pig feet.
Conclusion: This study found no increase in skin surface temperature or displacement of staple position after a standard extremity MRI scan. Based on our findings, MRI scanning in the presence of stainless steel surgical staples seems safe.