April 04, 2024

Can I Wear A Mask During MRI?

Woman getting an MRI

People with certain medical conditions may be advised by their doctors or decide to wear masks in public spaces to reduce the risk of contracting airborne illnesses. That practice can be beneficial when around people who are currently ill, such as at a hospital or other medical facility.

However, this can lead to questions about when you should remove your mask, such as, “Can I wear a mask during an MRI?” This article addresses that topic.

Guidance for Mask-Wearing in an MRI Machine

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure generates detailed pictures of organs or structures in the body using radio waves and powerful magnets. It’s a safe, non-invasive process that can be used to diagnose a wide variety of conditions.

Concerns about mask-wearing arise because no metal is allowed in an MRI machine, and many masks have a metallic nosepiece. Often, it’s covered with the mask material and, therefore, not visible. Masks may also have an antimicrobial coating made from copper or silver.

Consequently, hospitals and imaging centers typically require patients to remove their masks before their procedure.

Problems Caused by Metal in MRI Machines

People wearing masks when getting MRIs have been burned by the rapid heating of the metal nosepiece. The powerful magnets in the machine may also yank the mask off the patient’s face. In addition, antimicrobial metals may not interfere with conducting the imaging procedure but can cause artifacts that make the resulting scan unusable.

MRI-Safe Masks

If you prefer not to remove your mask during an MRI, the imaging department or center may allow you to wear an MRI-safe mask. That designation means that the mask contains no metal nosepiece or particles.

If you have questions about mask restrictions for your MRI, it’s a good idea to reach out to the provider before your appointment.

Other Items Not Allowed in MRI Machines

Several types of medical devices placed in the body contain metal. If you have any of them, you won’t be able to have an MRI unless the item is certified as MRI-safe.

Be aware that having metal shrapnel or fragments in your body might also prevent you from getting an MRI. In addition, some tattoos may contain metal.

You should also let your provider know if you’re pregnant, might be pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Learn More About Imaging at Baptist Health

MRIs are important diagnostic tests that help diagnose and monitor a wide variety of health issues. They’re safe and effective when patients follow the provided guidelines.

If you’re scheduled for an MRI with Baptist Health but want to wear a mask during your procedure, talk with your provider about your options.

Learn More.