Generally, magnetic resonance imaging machines, or MRI machines for short, are safe to use. Although they use very powerful magnetic fields and radio waves to produce very detailed images of your organs, it is a painless procedure and should do no harm to the person inside. However, there are necessary precautions that could cause adverse effects that are important to prevent MRI side effects.

MRI safety

Any magnetic objects should not be in close proximity to the MRI machine. Doing so can cause those objects to move around with great force and harm the patient or the technician. Any metallic objects such as watches, jewelry, belt buckles or buttons must be removed beforehand.

Possible implants in the body can be affected by the powerful magnetic field. They can be jostled around in the body or even potentially extract it. Also, any metallic fragments in the body (i.e. bullet, nail, staple) must be acknowledged by the MRI technician.

Hearing aids, pacemakers and other electrical implants may be vulnerable to MRI machines. They can be damaged by the magnetic fields or again, moved from its original position. Some implants can also be heated to very high temperatures inside the body. Other implants may just alter the quality of the scanned images taken.

MRI dangers

If you follow the basic precautions, there is no real danger to you. Remove any loose magnetic objects lying around, along with any metallic objects on your body or on your clothing. Lastly, be sure that the technician knows about any implants or fragments in your body that could be hazardous.

Some MRI exams will inject a substance known as gadolinium. This is a contrasting agent that is designed to improve the quality of the images. In most cases, this is harmless to the body and rarely produce an allergic reaction. However, people who suffer with impaired renal functions due to kidney problems can be vulnerable to gadolinium side effects.

The most dangerous side effect is that the patient can develop Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis symptoms, that causes dark, tightened skin that leads to joint immobility and pain. If you have a history of kidney failure, be absolutely sure it is known before you are administered with gadolinium.

MRI side effects

There are no dangerous MRI side effects (other than those potentially due to gadolinium). However, it is a long procedure involves the patient to lay still in an enclosed machine that is relatively loud. All these sources of stress on the body can lead to dizziness, nausea, headaches, anxiety, sweating and so on. There is also the issue of claustrophobia, but this can be resolved with open sided MRI machines.