Problems with MRI

MRI has certain limitations and side effects/problems which are unique, like any other procedures of medical investigation. The problems of MRI include problems for implants & foreign bodies inside the patient, radiofrequency energy effects, projectiles/missile effects, acoustic noise, problems due to peripheral nerve stimulation, problems due to use of cryogens, problems due to use of contrast media/agents, claustrophobia & discomfort due to MRI, pregnancy & MRI problems etc. Some of the problems which may occur due to MRI are already discussed, the remaining are discussed here.

Acoustic noise:

MRI machines may produce loud noise due to the vibration of which are in the audible range. Some MRI machines may produce a very loud which may be as much as equivalent to a jet engine at take-off. The loud noise may scare the patient. To prevent the effects of noise, it is advisable to use ear plugs inside the scanner room.

Peripheral nerve Stimulation:

The rapid switching on and off of the magnetic field gradients can cause stimulation of peripheral nerve.

Radiofrequency energy effects:

Protons are excited with the help of a powerful radio transmitter. The heat produced during the excitation of protons may heat up the body and may cause hyperthermia, especially in obese patients and also if the patient has any disorders of thermoregulation. Some countries have guidelines regarding the heat produced.

Projectile and missile effects:

Missile effects and accidents due to missile effects may be a problem with MRI. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines produce very high power magnetic field, as high as 60,000 times higher than Earth’s magnetic field for scan. There reports of accidents due to high magnetic field and missile effects. Accidents due to missile-effect, as any ferromagnetic object is attracted to the center of the magnet used in MRI, may cause injury and even death.

To reduce the risks of missile effects and accidents, any ferromagnetic object and device should be prohibited in proximity to the MRI scanner. Non-ferromagnetic versions of equipments and devices used in MRI scanning rooms should be encouraged. Patients undergoing MRI examinations should be instructed to remove all metallic objects, often by changing into a gown.


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