Radiating Hope: Radiology Department Blog


MRI Safety: What to Leave at the Door Before an MRI Scan

MRI Safety: What to Leave at the Door Before an MRI Scan

Photo: Highly magnetic objects attaching to the handheld magnet, while non-ferrous metals or non magnetic metals that do not contain iron simply hang loose.

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which means that we use a very large and strong magnet to take pictures. Because we are using a large magnet, we have to take a very close look at any metal objects that need to enter the scan room.  For this reason we use terms such as MR Safe, MR Conditional, and MR Unsafe in our department. Even small objects such as an ink pen need to be evaluated before entering the scan room.

mri safe 2

MR safe is defined as any object, device, implant, or equipment that poses no known hazards in the MRI environment., meaning they have no magnetic pull and are perfectly safe to enter the MRI scan room without any worries.  Some examples are items that are made of plastic, gold, sterling silver, titanium.  Our technologists pay very close attention to things you may have and will ask you to remove it before entering our scan rooms for your safety. Our equipment in the scan rooms will have a green sticker on them that clearly state that it is safe to be in the scan room.

mri conditional

MR conditional is defined as an item that has been demonstrated to pose no known hazards in a specified MR environment with specified conditions of use. This means that a physician or technologist will pay close attention to the item.  Some objects, devices, implants, and equipment require special safety measures when entering the scan room.  Some devices or implants may have special instructions and can only be done in certain scanners, so being patient and understanding is a big help to us to ensure you and your child’s safety.  Also, some of our equipment used in the scan room is only conditional. You may see tape on the floors in the scan room that indicate the distance at which the equipment must stay away from the machine to ensure safety. The MR conditional equipment will also have a visible sticker on it to recognize that we need to take these special measures.

mri unsafe

MR Unsafe is defined as an item that is known to pose hazards in all MRI environments. These are objects, devices, implants, and equipment are not under any circumstances able to enter the MRI scan room. These are items that are highly magnetic, or devices/implants that are documented to be unsafe to receive an MRI.

It is very important for you to tell us about any objects, devices, or implants you may have inside and outside of your body. Each item needs to be evaluated before going into our scan rooms. Things like cellphones, jewelry, and, yes, even credit cards need to be securely placed in a locker we provide for you before entering the scan room. Any implants you may have need to be closely looked at by our physicians and technologists to recognize any special circumstance we may need to take for you and your child’s safety. Never be afraid to ask us questions about anything. MRI Safety is a priority at Cincinnati Children’s.

Contributed by Laura Hanselman (SPEC-MRI) and edited by Glenn Miñano, BFA.

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About the author: Glenn Miñano

Glenn Miñano is a media specialist in the Department of Radiology, providing graphic design, photography, printing, video services, and administration of the department’s online properties. His works have been published in several medical articles, such as the American Journal of Radiology and the American Institute of Ultrasound. He has been providing these services to the Radiology Department since 1996.