Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is often considered to be an imaging modality with no risk to the patient, as long as there are no ferromagnetic implants or contrast complications (eg, allergic reactions or nephrogenic systemic fibrosis). However, it is important to recognize that among other potential MRI-related risks, the transmitted radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation used in MRI poses a source of potential harm to the patient. RF-induced heating needs to be understood by technologists performing MRI examinations because it carries a risk of excessive heating and thermal burns. This article presents the mechanisms by which RF can cause burns, as well as safety precautions that can help reduce this risk.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Recognize the potential for heating and burns from RF energy in the MRI environment.
- Describe the mechanism of RF heating in MRI.
- Identify several possible causes of RF burns in patients undergoing an MRI examination.
- Discuss precautions that can help reduce the risk of RF heating in MRI.
Categories: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Radiation Safety/Protection