Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a radiology imaging technique used throughout the world to create detailed images of the human anatomy, tissues, organs, and physiological processes related to various conditions or diseases.
If you have ever had an MRI or know someone who has, you likely know it is commonly used to help medical professionals arrive at a diagnosis and treatment plan for patients who suffer traumatic musculoskeletal (bone breaks, soft tissue injury, ligament damage, etc.), brain injuries, or to gather insight into whether patients may be suffering from cardiovascular or gastrointestinal disease. You probably also know that radiologists and doctors will ask patients to remove metal items before entering an MRI machine, including metal accessories like earrings and other jewelry.
There’s a good reason for that. Because MRIs work by using strong magnetic fields and radio waves to create images, metal objects can cause the machine to react, heat up, and potentially cause light to moderate burns. This is why patients are generally advised to remove any metal items, accessories, and jewelry prior to entering the scanner. However, most people don’t realize that their clothes may also contain small amounts of metal.
Now, hospitals and radiology centers across the country are warning patients who undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures to avoid wearing athletic and spandex clothing. Spandex leggings and other similar athletic wear often contain metallic threads that may react with the machine and cause burn injuries.
As experts report, many types of “athleisure” clothing, commonly contain silver or other metallic threading woven into garments to prevent them from smelling when a wearer exercises and sweats. Although popular brands like Lululemon have been called out specifically by some doctors, any type of clothing that is “anti-bacterial” or “anti-microbial” should be avoided, as they also likely contain metallic fibers.
At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our New Jersey personal injury lawyers frequently represent victims who undergo imaging tests such as MRIs following preventable injuries they suffer in motor vehicle collisions, workplace incidents, and other types of accidents. We would like to remind everyone to avoid wearing athletic clothing when getting ready for a procedure. If you are unsure of whether your clothing may contain such metal fibers, err on the side of caution by wearing standard cotton-based clothing, express your concerns to your doctor or a radiology technician, and heed the advice of medical professionals and any instructions you are provided.