Technologists are well-aware of the possibility of metal burns from MRI machines. Due to the components of an MRI, all metal must be removed prior to patients entering Zone III, the space before entering the scanner room. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to wear face masks in public indoor areas, including medical procedures. Also, of recent fashion trends, women have become more prone to use magnetic eyelashes, a beauty product that is easier to apply and remove. Both have resulted in MRI patient injuries.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement warning health care providers that patients might be injured if they wear face masks with metal parts during a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam. These small metal parts are usually found within the nose area or throughout the mask fabric. Nose clips, wires, ultrafine particles, or antimicrobial coating (silver or copper) can become hot and burn MRI patients.

This note of caution comes as a patient received burns from donning a face mask during an MRI. “The FDA is reminding patients and providers that patients should not wear any metal during an MRI,” according to the statement issued.

The Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics issued a report explaining how magnetic eyelashes are unsafe in an MRI; some lashes can rapidly become moving projectiles. False eyelashes are placed onto magnetic eyeliner (applied to eyelids) or discreetly clamp around natural eyelashes. Patients might forget to mention the eyelashes and MRI technicians might not notice them.

All medical providers should screen patients for MRI safety. Tiny metallic objects within face masks or fake eyelashes can easily slide past an initial assessment. If patients experience burns while wearing face masks, providers are encouraged to report the incident to the FDA. Gathered reports help the FDA improve patient safety.

For more information regarding the FDA’s warning, read the full report. The complete journal article pertaining to magnetic eyelashes can be found here.

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