The FDA recently received a complaint from a patient whose face was burned after wearing a facemask with metal during a MRI. The patient was undergoing a 3 TESLA MRI scan of the neck. The burns were consistent with the shape of the mask.
It is clearly negligent to allow a patient to enter an MRI without checking for metal in a face mask. Anyone who is being scheduled for a MRI procedure must be checked for metal placed in or on their body including in their face mask.
Typically, patients undergoing an MRI are submitted to a metal checklist during which they are asked if they are wearing electronic devices, had metal in their eyes, have implants, had previous surgery on their head or ears or are wearing items such as jewelry, hearing aids, medication patches and obviously these days, a mask that doesn’t contain metal.
Metal interferes with the magnetic field during a MRI procedure and can cause dangerous safety hazard including burns
In a warning, the FDA recommended healthcare workers to not only check for nose wires or other metal strips that help the mask fit better on the face but also for masks that are made of synthetic fibers or fabric that may have particles or coatings that contain metal. Some masks contains nanoparticles or antimicrobial coating which contain metal such as copper or silver. Because it can sometimes be difficult to know if the fabric or the fibers have a metal coating, it is safer to provide patients with a new mask without metal before their MRI.
MRI’s are considered a pretty safe way to examine patients and the risk of injuries is usually low. However when complications occur, thermal burns account for 70% of them. Not only masks but other type of clothing such as jogging or yoga pants can contain metal and lead to thermal burns during a MRI.