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MRI Scans - burning

Discussion in 'Personal' started by JosieWhitehead, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Help!! I had to have an MRI scan yesterday - full length on my back. Yes, it was painful because I had to lie on the injured muscle for about 25 minutes on a hard surface - agony. But, after getting away from the hospital and some hours later I noticed my skin was very red under my eyes and also very puffy. I also felt very tired. This hasn't gone off today and the skin on my face, especially around my eyes, feels hot - rather like sunburn - and my eyes were watering quite a bit at one time. Has anyone else had this sort of experience? What can you advise?
  2. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Phone 111.
  3. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I did. They just said that if it is no better, to go to the doctor tomorrow. I just wondered if anyone else had had this experience. I rather think that if it isn't better by this weekend I should see a dermatologist. MRI isn't radiation is it?
  4. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I've had several and never experienced anything like that.
  5. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Not in the ionising nuclear sense but you can get some heating from the rf coils used to generate the fields.

    Did you have a contrast agent injected or ingested which you could be having a reaction to? If not, I wouldn't be particularly concerned in your position and would follow advice re seeing GP.
  6. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Josie, it is possible to get subcutaneous burns from MRI scans. It will have the same effects as sunburn and you should get it checked out at your earliest convenience. If you cannot wait until tomorrow to call the imaging department then call for emergency medical care tonight. Sunburn itself is no joke and MRI burns happen in a much shorter space of time.
    TCSC47 and monicabilongame like this.
  7. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    nope, no harmful radiation is used, it uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field. We are surrounded by radio waves in everyday life all the time (which is why radios work!)

    it is actually super safe, but is very expensive which is why it is not used all the time.

    edit....hmmm just read Vince_Ulams post...never heard of RF burns before but the science seems sound so it could be that...in which case ring the hospital ASAP
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
    JosieWhitehead likes this.
  8. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Any scan during which the technicians shelter behind a protective screen is not 100% safe.
    kibosh, TCSC47 and racroesus like this.
  9. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    No, I had no injections, but the scan went on for a long time - about 25 minutes.
  10. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Yes, I know that. By having your body completely enclosed means that there are elements which cannot be safe if you work with this equipment all day. My husband has had 3 scans but not for so long and no reaction at all. The strange thing was that the scan was of my back and yet it is around my eyes which have been affected. Hopefully I will wake up tomorrow to find I'm back to normal looks.
  11. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Vince, I realize this. It is exactly like sunburn. You don't feel it at the time the burn happens but the effects are later. I will see if I can get to see a dermatologist.
  12. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    I had no reaction to an MRI scan.

    Is it an allergic reaction to any new creams, gels etc that you may be using?
  13. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    My husband is a radiographer and does MRI scans for a living. He also asked about the injection but as you said you had not had one suggested it is nothing to do with the scan although it could be stress.25 minutes is a normal time for that sort of scan - some take over an hour. If you still feel ill he suggests you see your GP but he's 100% sure it won't be anything to do with the scan.
    frangipani123 and sparkleghirl like this.
  14. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    You can only get subcutaneous burns if you have been in contact with the surface receiver coil which would have been under your back (the table you were lying on) if you were having your back scanned not under your head. It is very rare to get subcutaneous burns but the radiographer will take measures to avoid this. You would not have had a coil over your head if you were having your back scanned.
  15. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    MRI uses radio waves and these are strongly absorbed by water which then heats up. This is the basic mechanism by which burns could occur. Of course the operation of the machine should be such that there is a very low risk but that does not preclude problems.

    Powerful emissions of radio waves can cause problems. I used to get a massive headache every time we went up the Norfolk coast past where there is a radar dome set just by the road.

    The difficulty can be if the medical profession doesn't believe it happens. I don't know if that is the case in the UK but it seems that, at least in the US, there is some defensiveness.

    I came across this website (amongst others),


    The good news is that, if it is a burn, then it should heal in the same way as any other burn as long as it it not too serious.

    However, as others have rightly said, if you have any concerns then go to the doctors. There's really not point in putting up with it if you are worried regardless of how it is caused.

    In the meantime, I wish you well and hope that it clears quickly.
  16. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I would recommend listening to the advice of someone with post grad qualifications in MRI rather than someone who has Googled worst case scenarios.

    Again, if you still feel unwell see your GP.
  17. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    The lady at their desk gave me two neurofen tablets to take because my back was painful. The result now is that two days later and I look as if I'm 120 years of age, ha ha Red skin round my eyes and puffiness around the eyes. I've rang the doctor and he said (because you can't see them these days) to take an antihistamine tablet and to ring him later if this doesn't work. All in all it is a mystery and that's why I wrote to ask if anyone else had experienced anything so strange.
  18. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Although the risk should be low in theory, I'm mindful of my time in medical physics when I was asked to manufacture a range of phantoms by the Regional Radiation Protection Officer, who happened to be based in our dept. Part of his duties were to check the calibration of X-ray machines, so patients weren't being over-exposed.

    He reported back that at least half the machines he checked were way out of calibration.

    I think you need to report your burns to whoever is responsible for the dept the scanner is housed in, following this up with a letter confirming your call, copied in to hospital management, medical physics dept. and H&S officer.
  19. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Neither had Maleficent. She was as carnaptious when she came out as she was going in.
  20. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    To put your minds at rest: The doctor tells me that he doesn't think that this is due to the MRI scan but to a bite from an insect as I'd been working in my garden during the day. He advised me to take antihistamine tablets and today (2 days later) the swelling has gone down and the colour is going back to normal. Don't antihistamine tablets make you sleepy though? I did report what happened to the hospital where I had the scan and they said that they didn't think it was caused by the scan. They've never had anyone report anything like it before and as the scan wasn't of my face, it probably was something else. I have to let them know next week what has happened. (Insect sting).
    kibosh and Vince_Ulam like this.

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