National MRI Safety Week Observed at Pacific Imaging Center

By Jack Berry, RT (ARRT) (MR) (CT) (R)

In just about every other imaging modality telltale sounds are emitted by the machine whenever it is on. MRI – while one of the safest imaging modalities – is in a class of its own because it is always on.

In recognition of National MRI Safety Week – from July 22 to July 28 – I’d like to share with you some information about the invisible hazards of MRI.

While there are several types of imaging magnets used to produce MRIs, 98 percent of them are “super conducting magnets.” Once turned on and ramped up, the magnetic field will remain present.

The noises common in MRI are produced while “pulsing” (pushing) radio frequencies into the magnet. This is done only after careful safety screening and proper placement and positioning of the patient on the MRI table. Then the exam begins.

When you schedule your appointment at Pacific Imaging Center, complete the paperwork at the time of your appointment, and again before entering the MRI scan room, you will be asked the same safety questions. This is not meant to annoy you. When it comes to your safety, it is essential that we do our very best to make your MRI exam a safe and productive medical imaging experience.

Family members and friends cannot be allowed in the room where the MRI is being conducted unless they have been questioned and cleared as if they are patients undergoing an exam. Remember – the machine is always on, which means the magnetic field is present through the examination room.

My favorite way to demonstrate to patients the unseen high magnetic field that is always “ON” is to walk slowly into the room while securely holding a choker chain.

In the video below, the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is proven true.

  • National Orthopedic Imaging Associates
  •  American College of Radiology
  • American Board of Magnetic Resonance Safety
  • The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
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