Safety for MRI studies relies on removing any metal on your body and fully understanding the impact of any metal within your body. Many types of metal implants, like joint replacements, are not a problem and patients with them can safely undergo MRI.
Some battery operated implants, like most pacemakers and many neurostimulators, can be adversely affected when exposed to the magnet. The safety of any implanted surgical device or metal should be thoroughly discussed before the exam - preferably at the time of scheduling.
On the day of the procedure, removing all metal (all hairpins included!) prior to entering the MRI suite is important for the safety of you, the technologist and the machine. No metal in clothing, no metal in pockets, no watches or phones!
The other main risk of MRI comes from those studies that require the injection of IV contrast. This allows us to evaluate blood vessels and the vascularity of organs and masses. This contrast contains gadolinium which is a heavy metal. Allergies or reactions can occur, although rarely. Gadolinium contrast materials should be used with caution in those at risk for kidney disease. You will be screened for the possibility of kidney disease, and your kidney function may be evaluated with a simple blood test before we give you the contrast if you have risk factors.
MRI is an amazing technology but requires strict safety precautions for everyone. We’ll be writing more about MRIs and the claustrophobic patient in our next post - stay tuned!
Originally published 10/9/14 on diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com.