Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Experience the sensation - without an implant!

Over the weekend, a close friend asked if a magnet could be glued to a finger and yield the same results as an implant. I had quite a few 'reject' coated magnets from shipping damage, so we proceeded to glue them to our fingers with small dabs of superglue.

The result? It works! I placed one on my left ring finger, for comparison to my implant in my right hand in the same location. My friend used his index finger, and we both noticed sensations immediately.

My friend proceeded to run around the house looking for sources of stimulation. He cheerfully reported that he could feel fluorescent light ballasts, motors, transformers, and most everything else I could think to suggest. "It's like I'm getting a small shock!" he said, probing the field around a particularly torquey motor. "Great, now I'm going to have to get one of these implanted!"

In comparison to an implanted magnet, not surprisingly, the sensations are less pronounced, especially the pulling and pushing of permanent magnets. Oscillating fields are very noticeable, but feel "muffled." Overall the sensations are remarkably similar to that felt from an implant, so the experiment was a success.

The glued-on magnets fell off within an hour or two, so unless a more aggressive adhesive is used (which I wouldn't recommend for skin) long term attachment of an external magnet isn't too feasible. I'll be trying more experiments as well; my friend suggested attachment to the fingernail, which could produce some interesting results.

So if you would like a taste of the sensations a magnetic implant has to offer, grab a bit of superglue, some tiny (but strong) magnets, and try it out!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A trip to the ER - no MRIs with a magnet in your finger

A common question I get asked is "What if you have to get an MRI?" I almost found out the hard way. Following a heavy New Year's Eve celebration, I had abdominal pain. Not out of the ordinary, but in the two days following it worsened and I felt it was time to see a doctor. I went to an emergency clinic, where after a quick examination I was told "You need to go to the ER and get an MRI."

I immediately thought of my implant and asked the doctor if she would be able to remove a foreign body (i.e. the implant) if need be. She believed that it could be shielded, but I would have to ask the imaging technicians at the ER.

Several hours later I found myself getting a CAT scan of my abdomen, which was completely unaffected by the implant. The ER doctors said that an MRI would only be necessary if more detailed imaging were needed. They also said, however, that there was no way to shield the magnet in my finger from the scan, and that it's presence would make an MRI impossible. (The door to the MRI area even plainly stated "NO METALLIC IMPLANTS.")

Eventually I was cleared, given an industrial strength laxative and a clean bill of health, but the experience opened my eyes to some serious situations. What if I had needed an MRI? Would they have been able to quickly remove the implant? What if it had been a time-critical emergency, and I were unconscious? Could having an implant ultimately endanger my life by preventing doctors from acting quickly? What would happen if I were exposed to the machine without removing the implant - would it be torn from my finger or forcefully dragged through tissue?

There are definitely some serious issues that come with a magnetic implant. Don't forget others are in the same boat though, whether through joint replacement surgery or metallic shrapnel, or even an artificial heart. So if you are seriously considering getting a magnetic implant, be sure to weigh and prepare for the possible consequences.