FDA issues metal face mask warning after patient burned during MRI

Health care providers encouraged to provide safe coverings to patients where necessary

Louise Hall
Thursday 10 December 2020 15:32
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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on wearing facemasks with metal parts during MRI scans after reports a patient was burned during an appointment.

The agency said on Monday that they had received a report that a patient who was wearing a mask containing metal during a neck scan experienced burns “consistent with the shape of the face mask.”

In light of the report, the FDA has issued a new advisory warning Americans not to wear face masks that include metal parts during a scan.

The agency said metal could be found in bendable nose pieces, staples on the headband, nanoparticles, or antimicrobial coating that may contain metal.

They explained that these parts in masks that may contain metal “may become hot and burn the patient during an MRI.”  

In the statement, the FDA asks patients to remove any metal before undergoing an MRI, and technicians or health care providers are encouraged to perform a thorough check before beginning the exam.

“When it is appropriate for a patient to wear a face mask during an MRI exam, such as during the Covid-19 public health emergency, ensure the face mask contains no metal,” the agency advised.

In cases where it is difficult to recognise whether a face mask contains metal patients are recommended to consult with a health care provider who will provide an alternative face mask if necessary.  

“Health care providers who perform MRI exams are encouraged to provide face masks without metal to patients who will undergo an MRI,” the FDA said.

The agency encouraged anyone who experiences an adverse event, such as a burn, while wearing a face mask during an MRI, to report the incident to help improve patient safety.

The FDA stipulated it will continue to monitor this issue and keep the public informed if significant new information becomes available.

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