Dermatoscopic Magnets Present No Safety Risk for Patients With CV-Implanted Electronic Devices

The safety risk of dermatoscope magnets in patients with cardiovascular implanted electronic devices was examined.

The use of dermatoscope magnets in patients with cardiovascular implanted electronic devices (CIEDs) most likely presents no measurable safety risk in real life, according to the results of a cross-sectional observational study published in JAMA Dermatology.

The study was conducted between January 2, 2018, and March 31, 2018, in a controlled laboratory setting. There were 2 experiments performed — one in the Dermatology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the other in the University Heart Center Zurich (UHCZ) in Zurich, Switzerland.

The investigators sought to examine the safety risks associated with the use of magnets in 3 different dermatoscope models in patients with CIEDs. The current study did not involve human participants. In the first experiment, which was conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, dermatoscopes that contain magnets were obtained from 3 separate manufacturers. With the use of a magnometer, the magnetic field strength of the dermatoscopes was measured over the magnet; at the faceplate; and at a distance of 0.5 cm, 1.0 cm, and 15.0 cm away from the faceplate.

In the second experiment, which was conducted in a controlled laboratory setting at UHCZ, ex vivo measurements were performed to determine the impact of the dermatoscopes on old-generation and new-generation CIEDs (ie, pacemakers and implantable defibrillators).

After 24 measurements were conducted, the magnetic field (measured in gauss [G]) strength varied as follows: (1) between 24.26 G and 163.04 G over the dermatoscope magnet, (2) between 2.22 G and 9.98 G at the dermatoscope faceplate, and (3) between 0.82 G and 2.4 G at a distance of 0.5 cm, between 0.5 G and 1.04 G at a distance of 1.0 cm, and 0 for all devices at a distance of 15.0 cm.

The field strength at the faceplate was generally lower than the industry standard safety threshold for CIEDs. In the ex vivo experiment at UHCZ, none of the dermatoscopes exerted any noticeable changes or disruptions in the CIEDs.

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The investigators concluded that in real life, dermatoscope magnets probably present no measurable adverse outcomes in patients with CIEDs. Use of the polarized safety mode allows dermoscopy to be performed ≥0.5 cm from the surface of the skin, where the magnetic field strength is well below the 5-G safety threshold. The magnets used in the 3 dermatoscopes that were tested had a low magnetic field strength at the faceplate.


Rishpon A, Braun R, Weinstock MA, et al. Assessment of the safety risk of dermatoscope magnets in patients with cardiovascular implanted electronic devices. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(10):1204-1207.