Purpose of the Study: To
understand the reasons for charm needle
insertions, chemical constituents of charm needles and their significance to magnetic resonance
imaging. Materials and Methods: Confidential interviews were used to collect
information from charm needle wearers. Two attempts at surgical removal of
charm needles were carried out. Charm needle samples were chemically analyzed
using EPMA method. A review of literature on the possible complications of
charm needles in relation to MRI was made. Results: Patients had varied reasons
for wearing charm needles including to be physically attractive, to
overcome personal problems and for protection. Charm needles were made of
gold alloy consisting of gold (85.2%-88.6%), copper (9.3%-10.8%) and
trace elements of aluminium and silver. As such, MRI may not be a hazard to
charm needle wearers given the fact that gold is non-ferromagnetic. However,
artefacts may potentially distort the MR imaging. Conclusion: A tactful
manner in handling these patients may be to ignore the needles unless a
clinical need warrants intervention. The surgical removal of these needles may
be a straightforward procedure, but the localization is usually a challenging
task. At present, the pertinent literature does not contain carefully
controlled studies that demonstrate the absolute safety of charm needle
exposure to powerful magnetic fields.
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