New Yorkers scheduled for upcoming MRIs should beware before undergoing a scan with a mask. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (F.D.A.), a patient back in December of 2020 suffered severe facial burns after wearing a mask with metal components during a 3 TESLA MRA neck scan. The injury report stated that the scope of the patient’s facial trauma was identical to the shape of the mask worn during the time of the scan and was caused by the presence of metal inside the covering.
MRI technologists are responsible for informing all patients prior to scanning about the dangers of metal objects near the machine. It is standard policy in the radiology field to utilize a metal checklist when screening patients to ensure removal of all metal jewelry, accessories, personal belongings, or articles of clothing containing metal before a scan. Everyday objects on this checklist include electronics, implants, surgeries containing metal, earrings, or hair clips.
Face masks are no different from any other metal accessory included on the metal checklist, particularly now that masks are mandatory to wear in all medical settings. It is negligent for MRI technologists to scan any patient without ensuring that their mask contains non-metal components. Face masks should be added to every checklist and inspected thoroughly for the possibility of metal before every scan. It is even better practice to warn patients of the risks before they arrive at the facility, so they are able to prepare.
At Siler & Ingber, we have been fighting for burn victims across Long Island and New York City for over 20 years. We believe in the power of educating patients on their rights and the dangerous trends in the medical field that could lead them into harm’s way. This article will highlight the masks you should be wearing when undergoing MRI scans and what you can do if you have suffered an injury due to medical negligence.
Why Metal In MRIs Is Dangerous
MRI imaging, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a common non-invasive diagnostic procedure performed on patients suffering from chronic pain or soft tissue injuries. The most common MRI uses include scans of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, ligaments, muscles, or tendons.
According to the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (N.I.H.), MRI imaging utilizes powerful magnets to produce an intense magnetic field to stimulate protons’ rotational flow inside of living tissue. The magnetic field causes the protons to spin out of equilibrium and strain against the magnets’ pull, producing an image when the protons begin to realign.
The magnets in an MRI machine can cause metal components present during the scan to heat up or cause static within the magnetic field, often resulting in patient injuries. Additionally, since MRI magnets are typically 1,000 times the strength of a refrigerator magnet, any metal present in the MRI room itself can be yanked towards the machine when it is on. The most tragic of these instances occur when the metal being pulled is contained with a human body, such as an implant or pacemaker.
Masks NOT to Wear During MRIs
Any mask that contains metal components could cause harm to a patient inside of an MRI machine. The most common mask features manufactured with metal include:
- bendable nose pieces or headbands;
- support clips and wires;
- nanoparticles (ultrafine particles);
- or antimicrobial coatings that may contain copper or silver.
Masks containing any metal feature can become hot very quickly when the MRI machine is active, causing burns to the nose, lips, chin, cheeks, or other parts of the face. Masks made from synthetic fibers have been flagged by the FDA to contain the most undetectable metal fibers, leading to large scale burns of the face.
Safe Masks to Wear During MRIs
MRI technologists are responsible for assessing a patients’ mask and confirming that it does not contain metal components prior to a scan. If your mask is confirmed to contain metal, or even suspected to contain metal, best practice is for MRI facilities to offer patients an approved non-metal mask to prevent injuries. Unfortunately, this process does not always occur, and some MRI technologists are not doing their due diligence to ensure patient masks are safe for the procedure.
Be your own advocate and bring a non-metal mask (if possible) to a scheduled procedure to avoid facial injuries during an MRI scan. Most surgical masks that are effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 also contain metal components. Cotton masks, with no metal clips or flexible nose pieces, are typically the safest. But always consult a trusted health professional about the safety of your mask.
What To Do If You’ve Been Burned
If you or someone you love has experienced a burn from a mask after MRI imaging, it is critical to report the incident. First, seek medical attention to ensure your injuries are taken care of. Burns can lead to infections and permanent scarring when left unattended.
Contacting a burn injury lawyer is the next step to determining whether negligence was the cause of your injury. Burn injury lawyers have the resources and experience to investigate whether a facility followed the proper protocols during screening and can also assist you in reporting the incident to the FDA without hurting your claim.
New York City and Long Island Accident Attorneys
Our burn injury attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber, have over 20 years of experience serving clients across New York City and Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process using past experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-529-4343 or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.