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This graphic provided by the FDA warns mask-wearers of the potential metal parts of their masks.
This graphic provided by the FDA warns mask-wearers of the potential metal parts of their masks. Source: FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration is warning against wearing face masks with metal parts during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams after a patient experienced facial burns.

The agency issued a safety communication Tuesday alerting patients and health care providers about the potential dangers.

“The FDA recently received a report that a patient’s face was burned from the metal in a face mask worn during an MRI,” the agency said in the alert.

The injury occurred during a scan of the neck.

“The report describes burns to the patient’s face consistent with the shape of the face mask,” the FDA said.

Some face masks, such as surgical or non-surgical masks and respirators, contain metal parts and coatings. Metal parts can include nose pieces, also called nose clips or wires, nanoparticles or antimicrobial coating that might contain silver or copper.

The metals can heat up during an MRI and burn the patient.

“Burns from metal objects worn by a patient during an MRI exam are a known issue and patients should not wear any metal during an MRI,” the agency said, but given the coronavirus pandemic, the FDA is urging patients to wear masks during an MRI.

The FDA is urging health care workers to make sure patients are wearing masks that do not have metal components during MRIs. 

Magnetic resonance imaging uses strong magnets and radio waves to take internal pictures of the body. MRIs help health care providers diagnose an injury or disease and monitor medical treatment, the FDA said.


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