October 26th, 2011
06:01 PM ET

Don't get hurt by an MRI

MRI machines allow doctors to see inside your body and diagnose what’s wrong with you, but if mistakes are made, they can hurt or even kill you.

“If administered properly, it’s one of the safest exams that have ever been invented,” says Tobias Gilk, an MRI safety advocate.

But accidents do happen.

“Most errors are a combination of human error and bad timing,” says Dr. Emanuel Kanal, a professor of radiology and neuroradiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Faulty training and lax rules about who can be around the machine also contribute.

There are four main ways MRI machines can pose dangers.

The M in MRI stands for magnetic, and  magnets are very powerful.

Gilk’s website, mrimetaldetector.com, shows photos of metal objects, including a bed, a floor polisher and a chair forced against the MRI machine.

If someone is being scanned when these devices fly into a machine, they could face serious injuries. A child in New York was killed in 2001 when the MRI machine sucked an oxygen canister into the machine where he was being scanned.

“Projectiles usually happen when there are breakdowns in policies and procedures and proper training wasn’t performed,” says Frank Shellock, an adjunct clinical professor of radiology and medicine at the University of Southern California. He points out that MRI magnets don’t just turn on when they are scanning. They are always energized and there is no visual cue the magnetic field is present. Newer MRI machines can be even more powerful.

MRIs use RF transmitters and those can cause heat. “Burns happen, usually because a patient wasn’t prepared properly,” Shellock says. “Usually this is related to misuse of equipment.”

“Generally it is supposed to be gentle, like a heat lamp,” says Gilk. “If there are electrical conductors like an EKG lead (on the body) it becomes an antenna and can pick up the RF and concentrate it.”

Touching the side walls of the MRI tunnel can also lead to burns, Shellock says. MRI operators should put material between the patient and the wall if there is a risk of the patient coming in contact with it. Some burns have been so severe patients have required skin grafts.

Hearing loss:
MRI machines can be quite loud.

Gilk compares getting a scan to standing near a  jet aircraft. He says patients and anyone else near the machine should be given adequate earplugs or protective earphones.

“Scanner technology is improving and machines are getting quieter,” Gilk says, but “anyone in the room could get hearing loss.”

Implants and medical devices:
People with metal in their bodies, including medical devices like aneurysm clips and pacemakers, can face increased risks. The MRI’s powerful magnetic fields could move the device or cause damage.

“Most medical device manufacturer's products made in the last five years will be OK,” says Gilk. But, “if, for example, you had an aneurysm clip that is 15 years old, you should be particularly cautious.”

Shellock says he has studied 3,500 implant devices over about the last 25 years and the devices that are labeled as appropriate for use in an MRI should be fine.

In addition to the medical metal inside the human body, some patients require external devices to keep them alive or monitor their condition. Those devices need to be specifically designed to function around an MRI.

The federal government doesn’t regulate the use of MRIs and state regulations for the machines vary.

“Many states have more stringent requirements for hair colorists than who runs an MRI center,” Gilk says.

So what can patients do to make sure they are safe when they get an MRI?

1. Fill out MRI questionnaire: “Patients should fill out a screening form and ask the MRI technologist if they have questions,” Shellock says. It’s important that patients go over the questions with the technician to make sure they understand what is being asked.

Kanal says honest answers are essential. He gives the example that a patient might not want to reveal they have a wig, but it’s important for the operator to know.

Details about any metal that may be in the body, including bullets, medical devices like aneurysm clips, stents or pacemakers should also be shared with the operator.

2. Remove metal: Since magnetic metal poses such a risk in an MRI, it is essential patients and anyone near the MRI remove it.

3. Use hearing protection: Make sure you and anyone else in the room with you are given proper ear protection and make sure it fits.

4. Look for open doors: MRI facilities should be secure. Gilk says open doors could be a sign the facility isn’t as careful about access as it should be.

5. Look for wires: Make sure there are no unexpected wires or metallic objects like left over EKG sensors on your body. Some devices may be safe for an MRI, but others can be dangerous.

6. Don’t touch the side walls: Coming in contact with the inside of the MRI tube can lead to burns.

soundoff (3,779 Responses)
  1. Randy Bacon

    I run several MRI centers and can assure you that MRI technicians receive far more training than beauticians. Where did you get that information? Also, states generally do not dictate specific safety rules for MRI suites. Rather, accreditation bodies such as the American College of Radiology and The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations continually publish updated safety guidelines. Dr. Shellock is an important contributor to these guidelines. This was a lazy and unnecessarily incendiary "report" on the dangers of MRI exams.

    October 26, 2011 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PhillipW


      Article didn't state technicians receive less training, it stated that there is less government regulation of MRI centers and the technicians than there are of hair colorists.

      October 26, 2011 at 20:20 | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      I dont think they were trying to compare beauticians to MRI techs. While the article was slightly Fox News like in its sensationalism, "When MRIs Attack", I did find one important point within.

      When I had my last MRI, my ears were ringing slightly after a 45 minute scan. I wish the technicians had offered earplugs as it would have really helped. No permanent damage, but it was similar to a transatlantic flight with a seat right next to the engines in terms of the numbing effect in my ears.

      October 26, 2011 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      There are hospitals that just hire someone who can run the machine. They also allow the machine to determine all necessary adjustments, to include the amount of Electromagnetic Radiation to be given to a patient. That is just too scary.

      There are bad techs out there, and that is risky for the patient.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:03 | Report abuse |
    • constant vigilance

      Randy, I'm a researcher at a major adacemic hospital and I'm around the scanners a lot. I can tell you that when we quenched one of the old scanners several years ago to enable replacement, several high-quality metal pens came out as a result of "highly educated" physicians with expensive pens walking up to the scanner with that pen in their pocket. Some other metal items came tumbling out as well. It only takes a single moment of forgetfulness to endanger yourself or anyone standing around the scanner. Training and drilling of ALL people is essential. MRI is very safe but accidents will always happen because people are flawed.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:16 | Report abuse |
    • Ultrasonoannie

      Randy, I find it interesting that you 'run' these facilities and yet you are referring to your employees as 'technicians'. You did bring up some good facts, but that alone makes me question how much you actually know about the operations of your facilities.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
    • J Adams

      I agree with Randy. I am a radiologist sup-specializing in MRI, supervising physician of two MRI facilities, own an MRI clinic, in practice since 1998. If I were to grade the work of whoever was in charge of presenting this report – they would fail miserably. Unless their assignment were to present a tabloid-like attention-grabber – at which point I would grade them higher, but still fail them – for spreading false information tantamount to lies, for the purpose of selling website hits. CNN should be embarrassed – yet there is no accountability (just like supermarket tabloids).
      As for the statement that technologists are in charge (of MRI safety), that is false. National safety guidelines are established on multiple fronts – american college of radiology, peer-reviewed research, etc. Safety within individual clinics has to follow these guidelines in order to be accredited. This is established by the supervising physician, clinic manager, etc – and is enforced by the technologist, as well as every worker within the clinic. These guidelines have been around for roughly 30 years – and are absolutely effective.
      As for technologist training – they must attend at least 2 years of college, including in-hospital training, prior to graduation. Then state license must be obtained. After that, a regulated large number of varied MRI procedures have to be logged by the individual – which may be accomplished through an MRI training site – or under supervision during on the job training. Not until then, are they allowed to sit for MRI registry – a difficult exam to pass, encompassing MRI physics, cross-sectional human anatomy, MRI safety, patient interactions, etc. In addition, continuing medical education must be earned each year in order to be able to maintain their state license. It is rapidly becoming necessary for all MRI technologists to have their registry – otherwise the clinic can not be paid by medicare / medicaid for exams performed.
      In contrast – from what I understand, a beautician's training varies from a 2-year degree – to as little as a high school diploma with on the job training.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:23 | Report abuse |
    • CDJRTR

      Sheila- where do you get your info from? The "R" in MRI does not stand for radiation; it stands for resonance. You clearly have MRI & CT confused. I am an Xray & CT TECHNOLOGIST who works in a hospital setting where we have to update our own health information yearly to see if we are able assist in moving a patient who is in the MRI exam room. I assure you that the MRI techs I know are competent & they take every precaution to insure safety for their patients. When no one is in the exam room, the door stays locked & they are the only one with keys. They will, at all cost, stop anyone from entering that room (this includes doctors or ANYONE else) who hasn't been screened beforehand & removed EVERYTHING that may pose a threat to the patient or themselves. They even tell you to leave all of your belongings (including credit/debit cards) in a locker outside the exam room. CNN, please get ALL of your facts straight before you post garbage like this; you don't have a clue what you are talking about in this matter. MRI is one of the safest & most detailed exams available for patients who need it & with proper screening, are able to have the exam.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:26 | Report abuse |
    • Randy Bacon

      Ultrasonoannie – I chose not to argue the technician vs. technologist issue simply for the sake of brevity but thanks for your snarky entry into the conversation nonetheless.

      October 27, 2011 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      I am having an MRI scan for a Pituarity problem on Saturday, and am a little worried. I believe I was abducted in 1996 by grey aliens (belive it or not) and I have an implant which was placed up my nose in this area of the brain. From what I have read and seen on TV since the objects are probably metal in nature, though of substances not of this earth. Anyway. I am worried that it might burn or explode or something. Sorry if this sounds far fetched but I would find it hard to approach a doctor on the day about this. I;m in a bit of a quandry) 🙁

      Any advice? Any stories of this before?

      May 13, 2015 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
  2. JD

    What is the purpose of this article? To scare people away from life saving diagnostics? I'm pretty sure the MRI associated risks mentioned are by far outweighed by the benefit of information received from the exam. Now gadolinium contrast used with MRI's would be a better discussion.

    October 26, 2011 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jodi

      True... But, it is hard to determine an allergy to gadolinium considering it is made of metal. And, most healthcare facilities calculate all patient's GFR (glomerular filtration rate) to determine a patients kidney functions. If it is of an unsafe value than contrast will not be used. Hospitals and clinics are full of technologists and not technicians which means that they are nationally licensed and recognized. In fact, most radiography schools are longer and more intense programs and clinical terms than nursing(associate's degree). And, MRI is a separate "school", training and license.

      October 26, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse |
    • PhillipW

      I think the point of the article was to let people know how important it is to be aware of risky behaviors such as not disclosing certain medical implants when getting an MRI. This, along with demonstrating why MRI centers typically have strict policies about removing all metallic objects from your body, and keeping common items we wouldn't think about (like chairs) away from the machines, is all very good information. It might be difficult to get a senior citizen to understand why they cannot take their walker into an MRI room if they aren't shown examples of what can happen.

      October 26, 2011 at 20:25 | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      Purpose is to make you aware, so if you see employees not following procedure you can point it out and avoid injury. O2 tank killing a child is terrible.

      Urban legend says distracted XRAY employees have left XRAY machines on before killing patients who were unconscious too. I wouldn't doubt it. Humans make LOTS of mistakes, so don't trust 100%.

      October 26, 2011 at 20:36 | Report abuse |
    • Beau

      Carl that xray thing is like you said an urban legend. X-ray machines only emit a dose when a button is pushed. it is impossible for that to happen. i work at one of the worlds best imaging centers there is, we treat athletes from all over the world, and articles like this and the who Mammograms can cause cancer thing do nothing but instill fear in patients. articles like this do more harm than any good. Uninformed journalist will grab at any story they think will get a reaction on. PEOPLE MRI's ARE SAFE, MAMMOGRAMS ARE SAFE, X-RAYS AND CT SCANS ARE SAFE. DONT LOOSE YOUR LIFE BECAUSE YOU CHOSE NOT TO GET A SCREENING BECAUSE YOU THINK THE RISK ISNT WORTH IT.

      October 26, 2011 at 21:49 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      "Allergies" to Gadolinium are very uncommon. The worst, NSF, has occurred almost exclusively in end stage renal patients and even at that is exceedingly rare. A lot of hyperbole and sensationalism here.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:09 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Jodi: Although facilities do take urine samples, the rate of filtration is not very often taken. They only look for protein in the urine and the like. There are a number of people with either metal allergies or liver problems that are only checked occasionally for such problems, if at all.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:22 | Report abuse |
  3. curiousga

    Isn't it is A MRI and not AN MRI? I stopped reading after the headline.

    October 26, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kerry

      It's "an MRI" because "MRI" is read and spoken as the initialism that it is: M, R, I. If you're saying "Mree" or something similar, that is incorrect and no one will know what you're talking about. If English isn't your native language, this is probably a common error to make.

      October 26, 2011 at 19:36 | Report abuse |
    • knight

      No. Although "M" is a consonant, the word "emm" starts with a vowel, or at least a vowel sound, so AN MRI is correct, as it would be spoken "an emm are eye"

      October 26, 2011 at 19:39 | Report abuse |
    • ....sigh....

      Learn English. When and abbreviation is said in letters (as in M-R-I), 'an' is the appropriate word, not 'a'.

      October 26, 2011 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
    • Rudy

      Thank you all for correcting our friend.

      October 26, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @curiousga... why did you even use a question mark? You obviously were complaining that the writer used "a" instead of "an." So you stopped reading the article because of a single word? Says a lot about you. If a simple word sends you into a passive-aggresive rage, I can't imagine what something truly serious would cause you to do.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:02 | Report abuse |
    • David

      "Learn English. When and abbreviation is said in letters..." When AND abbreviation...? Really? And you're suggesting another individual "Learn English"? Jagoff.

      October 29, 2011 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
  4. Truthwillsetyoufree

    My alien implant went nuts when I got mine. I could hear some planet zebo new report during the whole thing...

    October 26, 2011 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dirk Diggler

      Wow, that happened to you too? I started taking medication after Zebo's request to phone home.

      October 26, 2011 at 19:44 | Report abuse |
    • zoundsman

      I just heard the crackle of Zebonians singing what I think was intergalactic Karaoke.
      I think it was a Gaga tune.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:37 | Report abuse |
  5. Jasonchas

    One important fact left out of this article is the dye that is often used during an MRI. As I found out in a near death experience, some but very few people are allergic to Gadolinium. I had to spend three extra days in the hospital to recover my my near death reaction.

    October 26, 2011 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Terry

      I too had a very serious reaction to Gadolinium dye while having a routine MRI in Frankfurt Germany. I don't have renal failure or any other problems that would be effected by the dye. I spent 24 hours in the ICU there because of the reaction. Scared the HELL out of me. I thought I was going to die. Fortunately I lived through it and was never told whether or not there would be any lasting effects or damage to my body. The clinic was pretty much silent about it. It didn't even show up on my bill or reported to my insurance company.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      There should be real data kept by hospitals and sent to central locations (such as the CDC in the U.S.) which record all the cases for different ailments, including allergies. Cover-up is wrong, because there may be a higher incidence of allergy than reported elsewhere, or another reason for the reaction that could be studied if the cases were known. Remember that China found out the esophagus cancer is caused by a combination of lack of vitamin C and also nitrites and nitrates by very strictly following demographics? Until medical science does follow-up on every single case, medicine will all be pseudo-science.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:31 | Report abuse |
  6. Eric

    It's AN MRI, since MRI begins with the "em" sound.

    October 26, 2011 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Philip Gossett

    My wife is a MRI tech, took her over 3 years to get the eduction. The statement you idiots made this morning really broadcast your ignorance. Maybe the news media host have the same education as a bartender.

    October 26, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jason

      Well seeing that all CT and MRI techs must be registered by by the ARRT – the national registry. I can safely say that we have way more education than any hair stylist. Techs have started off in school as Radiologic Technologists and then went off for additional training in other modalities. Yes there are schools that just teach MRI and yes there are states that don't require licensing. I would like to know more - Was this in a hospital setting or a private outpatient center. Was this in a state that doesn't require licensing. For anyone receiving any type of x-ray, Cat Scan, or MRI – make sure your tech is a fully registered in there profession. I can for one tell you there no way that any limited licensed tech or someone who isn't a fully licensed tech with the A.R.R.T will ever do any exam on me what so ever. With the economy the way it is, alot of these place will hire minimally skilled folk to maximize there money. Ask questions of the techs just as you would your doctor. If they say they aren't registered, limited licensed, or machine operators – ask for a registered tech - if there isn't one available - DO NOT HAVE THE EXAM DONE ! ! ! ! Either re-schedule when there is a registered tech available, or go somewhere else where there is one available.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:10 | Report abuse |
  8. Nick

    Is it just me, or has the past year or so been filled with anti-medical screening and testing articles? What the heck happened?
    I know the logic (the problem of false-positives mainly coupled with excess cost), but to disguise it in all these other odd dangers seems to be getting ridiculous.

    October 26, 2011 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • IdiotMe

      Well, Nick, I think this is part of the new Republican National Healthcare Program....Scare people out of having (possibly) life saving procedures and allow them to die 'naturally' without care. Saves the insurance companies, the doctors and the funding for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc....

      In all seriousness, however, there does seem to be a growing number of articles/reports/etc. of the '1 in a million' effects/consequences/etc. of preventative procedures of late. This is a disturbing trend for all who would like to live longer, healthier lives.

      October 26, 2011 at 20:52 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I agree that too many people are being told not to have tests. While some doctors over-order tests, there are a lot more cases where not enough are done. Do you realize how many lives could be saved if people actually got colonoscopies, and women actually got mamograms? A lot of people just won't do it, often because of the expense, but also because they don't want to think of the consequences. Trust me, the tests are a fraction of the cost of treatment of advanced cancer.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:37 | Report abuse |
  9. Frangible

    Man, they missed the #1 easiest way to scare people about a MRI– bring up the fact it used to be called "nucular" magnetic resonance imaging. You don't have to explain it. Just say "nucular" a lot and show clips of vans exploding or something.

    Seriously this reminds me of the CNN article exposing the "dangers" of getting dental x-rays...

    October 26, 2011 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Med tech

      It is nuclear....you sound like George Bush!!!

      October 26, 2011 at 20:17 | Report abuse |
    • Gaib

      Pretty sure that was his/her point...

      October 26, 2011 at 20:48 | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Do you think they used any al-you-mini-um in the construction of that device?

      October 26, 2011 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
    • CDJRTR

      Frangible- are you trying to combine Nuclear Medicine & MRI? I hope you realize they are 2 totally different modalities.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:35 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Sure he was kidding about the spelling. However, nobody can pronounce words in their own field. So, there are "nuculer" engineers, "afletes" who play sports, and even pianists who play "prel-udes" and dancers who dance "balelet." I think it is because they became interested in their fields before age 5.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
    • David

      @CDJRTR: MRI used to be called NMR. Look it up. I don't think anyone is confusing Nuc Med and MRI.

      October 29, 2011 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
  10. Gail

    Where do you get your ridiculous information on MRI training.. MRI techs first have to complete 2 and 1/2 years in an acccredited x-ray program and receive an Associates degree, then pass a national exam in order to work in that field. Newer MRI techs spend another year in school on top of that and have to pass a national MRI registry in order to work in an accredited hospital or out patient center.As Randy said the American College of Radiology and the JCAH have very strict rules about the quality of work produced and who can produce it in order to be accredited by them. So...We are educated far beyond what beauticians learn and I think you owe all MRI techs a public apology

    October 26, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Cesar Torres

    These morons in CNN don't know what they are talking about. To be an MRI Tech you have to do 2-3 yrs of training and pass rigorous exams to attain certification and a license. A beautician does not even compare to us. Sorry, I don't want to knock on a beautician but we are much more trained and have much more responsability than them. A Dr. Can make a mistake too. We do thousands of scans per year. The hospital I work for has been open for 6 years with zero accident due to the dilligence of the techs. Makes me wonder how many times CNN has lied to us, they lost all credibility with me.

    October 26, 2011 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jason Cohen

    MRI Technologists (Not Technicians) are very educated. If they have not attained a Associates Degree, they have a Bachelors. Further, in order to maintain their State Licensure – they have to earn continuing education. What Elizabeth Cohen pro ported is complete inaccurate. Further, the rest of the content is total rubbish. Off-landish reporting. CNN: TAKE THIS POST DOWN!

    October 26, 2011 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. PpPpPp

    It's "an" EM-AR-I.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jeff

    I was at a hospital for a MRI and they tried to shove me it a small machine. It was so small when I said no they had a hard time squeezing me out. I have had 19 surgeries and have lots of metal in my back/spine area GETS REALLY WARM!

    October 26, 2011 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Some Guy

      Jeff – your implants are non-magnetic. They won't vibrate due to the magnetic field. Therefore, they won't heat up.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:19 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Jeff, if they had to "shove" you into the machine, and it was hard to pull you out, then here's the simple truth that you don't want to admit to yourself: you need to LOSE WEIGHT.

      I've had several MRI's... knee, abdomen, brain. It's not spacious, but it shouldn't "squish" you. And you shouldn't feel abnormally warm... unless your body is so big it's blocking air flow in the machine. I actually found myself slightly chilly in there. Also, the metals used in artificial parts, screws, and so on... are not made with iron. Therefore, NOT magnetic.

      So... eat a salad, and stop blaming a safe test for your discomfort.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:53 | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    This article implies that gold, silver, lead, stainless steel and other metals are attracted to magnets. They are not. Furthermore, very few people wear cast iron jewelry.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert

      Stainless steel is still somewhat ferrous and can be drawn to very strong magnetic fiellds like an MRI machine produces. That is why the MRI technician's tools are made from bronze or other non magnetic metals. Additionally, gold, silver, and other metals can be heated through induction by the rf field created by the MRI during a scan. Hence, no metal objects in the MRI room.

      October 26, 2011 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
  16. Shannon

    Another example of "not getting it right" by the American media.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Chris

    CNN- Please post some actual data in your fear-mongering "health" articles. Exactly how many people are hurt by an MRI every year? Surely fewer than are injured in their own bathrooms. Next week's article- "Don't slip in the shower! How wet floors could spell your DOOM!"

    October 26, 2011 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. r

    Magnetic shunts too are affected and may have to be recalibrated after an MRI. At all costs, try to avoid MRIs anyway.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LT

      Please elaborate as to why you you feel MRI's should be avoided at all cost.

      January 17, 2018 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
  19. matte

    Quite possibly the most far fetched and worst informed article I have EVER read on here.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike Cleland

      Agreed. It sounds like something that would be in a middle-schooler's essay about the pros and cons of MRI exams. Except this student forgot to write about the pros.

      October 26, 2011 at 20:11 | Report abuse |
  20. matte

    worst article ever

    October 26, 2011 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. joe s

    they are safe? what about the radiation u expose yourself too? these exams expose u to more radiation than a host of other sources. use an mri as last resort. dont take my word for it, look it up: radiation dangers and mri's. very dangerous

    October 26, 2011 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Linz

      There is no radiation or xrays involved. Its a combination of radio frequency waves and a magnetic field flipping hydrogen protons. You are safe!

      October 26, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Joe, please educate yourself. MRI's use magnets. They don't emit ANY radiation. Please do a bit of studying. Learn WHAT radiation IS, and what it isn't. Learn the difference between radiation and magnetics.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
    • J Adams

      The energies in MRI are radiofrequency waves / pulses and strong magnetism. I think where your confusion lies is the difference in ionizing radiation (which has potential to cause molecular / DNA damage / cancer, such as x-rays, gamma rays, or cosmic rays) versus non-ionizing radiation. All elecromagnetic waves are radiation – but only the xrays, gamma rays, cosmic rays – and ultraviolet rays – are ionizing.
      All other radiations are safe (like the radio waves used in MRI), other than their ability to burn if given in great enough dose.

      October 27, 2011 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • Not Llistening to CNN anymore

      Joe...there is NOOOOO radiation in MRI....M=magnetic, please educate yourself better than the CNN correspondents before posting! There is already so much misinformation flying around thanks to news media; we don't need comments reinforcing ignorance in the subject.

      October 27, 2011 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
  22. Mike Cleland

    I'm not in the medical field, but as a result of a condition I have I've undergone countless MRIs and every single person who's ever given me an MRI has had their medical credentials fully available for viewing – these people are doctors and highly skilled technicians.

    Isn't any large piece of machinery potentially fatal if the operator is not following some sort of procedure?

    October 26, 2011 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Linz

    WOW, I was really offended listening to the coverage of this report. I am an MRI Technologist and attended 5 years of college to do what I do: 2 years of pre-requisite college generals prior to the 2 years of Radiologic Sciences college education, followed by a year of specialty training in magnetic imaging. It is required to dedicate 1500 unpaid clinical hours in radiology alone, and an additional 700+ in MRI. Adds up to more clinical hours than what nurses, dental hygienists, and/or respiratory therapists have to do. (PRETTY SURE this is more than any beautician I've ever met.) I have completed 2 board examinations, I currently do continuing education to maintain my license, and have spent countless hours studying to work in the profession I proudly claim specialized in. Learn the facts, CNN, before you broadcast a story. I believe an apology is in order.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • another MRI TECHNOLOGIST!!!

      Thank you Linz, Well said. WOW, CNN....you've lost this one!

      October 26, 2011 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
    • Another Tech, ARRT (R) (MR)

      Exactly. In fact, during my training I know I had better IV starting skills than brand-new nurses who had fully graduated their respective programs. With all the hours of clinical between Radiography and MRI combined, I was more than adequately educated in my field well before every working one paid shift in the hospital.

      October 27, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
  24. JMED

    This is a terrible fear inciting article. Dr. Cohen should have her degree rescinded. Her claims are unfounded and number 6 is out right ridiculous. I rub the walls of a 3T MRI and I have a BMI of 25. Did a pre-schooler write this article?

    October 26, 2011 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Claude Slagenhop

    It scares me to death. These magnetic waves penetrating your body, fiddling with your mind! After an MRI who is to say that you are really you>>>???

    October 26, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Linda B. From IL

      Claude....maybe you need to seek help from a physician that can help you with those little voices you are hearing in your head. MRI has nothing to do with fiddling with your mind. It's all about Atoms...read, learn, and get educated.

      October 26, 2011 at 20:18 | Report abuse |
    • David

      Mr. Claude was, presumably, being sarcastic.

      October 29, 2011 at 17:33 | Report abuse |
  26. Linda B. From IL

    I agree with Jason Cohen, TAKE THIS STUPID, INACCURATE POST DOWN! Who ever did the background for this material should be fired. There are the "YOU TOO CAN BE AN MRI TECHNICIAN," schools. But, Hospitals, and most reputable Imaging Facilities that have to abide by ACR and JCERT accreditation will not hire them. Personally, it took well over 3 years of training, and I had to sit for boards to become an MRI TECHNOLOGIST! I have worked in this field since the inception of MRI. What you have done with you nonsense is a disgrace to all of us professional MRI Technologist's. I think the reporter should go back and bartend at the bar. It might be a better fit, since it doesn't take so long to learn it, and the stupidity of this article only shows how CNN does not do honest reporting!

    October 26, 2011 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • constant vigilance

      What's your beef? I did 4 years of B.S. and 7 years of Ph.D. and guess what? I sometimes f-up too. We all do. This article correctly pointed out that people must be vigilant every single time they enter the scanner room and cross that striped line. The real point? When people are given the questionaire to fill out before the scan, be very honest and ask if you don't understand a question. If someone had a penile implant and was too embarrassed to disclose it and got burned during a scan, guess who has to make out the incident report? The hair colorist remark was a bit much but constant vigilance is a message that never goes out of style no matter who you are or how many years you went to school.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:31 | Report abuse |
  27. JMED

    An aircraft engine? really? Why would they get a so called advocate to interview instead of a Radiologist or an Imaging physicist. Have accident's happened during MRIs? Yes, but they are rare. They knock CT and Nuc Med for radiation now they want to knock MRI! I guess we should just go back to exploratory surgery.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • constant vigilance

      One truth is that physicians really should practice more of the good 'ole diagnostic interview and review of systems prior to sending everyone off to the CT scanner for a quick but very expensive and high-dose exposure. Way too many CTs are being performed these days. Stop fattening the Radiologists.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:35 | Report abuse |
  28. Carol

    I am a MRI tech and I can tell you that people get hurt in MRI machines because they think they know everything when they know nothing or because they don't follow the technologist's instructions. I don't know why, but most people have no clue what empty your pockets means. They leave things that can become projectiles in the scan room in their pockets even though they have been instructed not to. People are not getting hurt because of the technologist. They are getting hurt because THEY are idiots and know- it- alls and can't follow simple instructions. i agree that you owe us a big public apology

    October 26, 2011 at 20:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      You cannot expect the general population to understand all things science and medical. And you don't even know if they heard you. Some people disguise hearing problems.

      It is YOUR Job as a tech to check the patient for metal before they enter the MRI room. Safer to have them strip down and put on a hospital gown only.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:17 | Report abuse |
    • Another Tech, ARRT (R) (MR)

      I agree the responsibility to safely clear patients before entering the MRI environment is the technologists job. However, I myself have had a number of encounters where I've repeatedly asked a patient to remove metal and inquired for the fifth or six time about potential implants, only to discover after the exam that we managed to fry an insulin pump or a hearing aid. I can only ask the question or have a patient fill out so many forms–the rest is on the patient to honestly answer the questions and follow the instructions I give them prior to the exam.

      October 27, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
  29. Meghan

    Reply to Joe: There is no radiation in MRI...M is for magnet not radiation...this is one of the benefits of having an MRI. Just trying to help inform some people today including the beautician who did the story.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      Sorry Meghan, you need to get educated a bit hon. The MRI uses electromagnetic radiation, and a very high amount of it. I know the MRI's back in the 80's used 50,000 volts of electricity to operate. The magnetic field is 50 times that of the earth.

      AND NO ONE KNOWS the effect of combining Electromagnetic Radiation with a Magnetic Field of such strength in the human body. They are waiting for us to grow old so they can see what happens to us. Actually, patients who have had MRI's are not being tracked through their life to see if there is significant effect. So bio effects happen, then no one is going to know if it was possibly associated the MRI.

      Too many people misunderstand "radiation". There are different types. But they can all cause changes in human fluid/tissue at the most basic of levels...the atom, the molecule, the individual cell...

      Xrays and CT scans, as well as the new Ultra Low Dose EOS machines (many have not heard of these yet) all use both electromagnetic radiation as well as ionizing radiation.

      MRI's and Ultrasounds both use electromagnetic radiation. And yes you can be burnt and made sick even in an ultrasound which is way lower in EMR than MRI. Ultrasounds are not supposed to be routinely used on pregnant women/embryo's just to determine gender or for other medically unnecessary reasons, but look at how much they are used for pregnant women in this country ! (Maybe we should consider their role in the development of ADD besides the potential culprit being child vaccines).

      Anyway, people NOW HAVE INTERNET and need to get educated. Take the initiative and research. Don't settle for general dumb down the people webpages designed to keep the money flowing for unnecessary procedures, but find actual research, and physics information and learn.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:29 | Report abuse |
    • constant vigilance

      Electromagnetic radiation is non-ionizing and produces very transient effects upon biological tissues. Pulses are extremely brief and and soon as the pulse is over, the spins relax very quickly. Also, electromagnetic = magnetic. They are the same. Extensive studies have been done on live cells as well as animal models to determine safety, not to mention the millions of scans that have been done on people.

      I agree that US is used far too much on pregnant women's fetuses but the safety is probably ok. It is the cost that is not ok. Women don't need all those scans unless something has been identified and needs to be watched.

      Vaccines don't cause ADD. A shortage of synaptic dopamine in several brain regions does. If people would exercise common sense and not breed with defective people, we'd clean our species up. Think about it. Breeding from bad stock? Don't blame that US scan or childhood vaccines when junior comes out just like mommy or daddy or uncle Ed.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
    • Ultrasonoannie

      Sheila, you obviously get all your information from CNN too. I'm a registered diagnostic medicial sonographer, aka "ultrasound tech". And I can assure you that ultrasound DOES NOT use radiation. The images are made from sound waves. Gees, before you go mouthing off on everyone's posts, maybe you need to do some actual research into what you're so strongly commenting about! And FYI – the potential overuse of diagnostic imaging studies falls back on the physicians who order the exams and people who go their physicians requesting a test for every cough, ache, pain, they feel. Technologists don't do exams without the order of a physician.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:47 | Report abuse |
  30. Kay Dye

    A friend's toddler was severely burned in an MRI machine. His burn was so big and went very deep. He required surgery to graft skin over it. He was burned because the MRI tech left a reflective blanket on him when she put him in the device. The poor kid was battling brain cancer and dealing with the aftermath of surgery while also in terrible pain from the awful burn. Obviously someone was not trained well.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Brad

    1, We are technologist's not technicians. 2, We acquire more clinical hours than RN's. 3, We have an associates degree or higher. 4, We are nationally registered. 5, We are required to earn 24 credit hours of additional learning every two years. 6, CNN is just another sad definition of bought and paid for journalism.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LIsa


      October 26, 2011 at 20:43 | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      Hi Brad, I intensely inquire of MRI details from techs. As I do CT Scan. Doctors, nurses and diagnostic techs can all have different levels of education and understanding. But I have found many of them lacking.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:15 | Report abuse |
  32. LIsa

    Sorry, but we are technologists, not technicians. There are some great MRI techs out there and most are vigilant. The close calls I have seen are when pt's family decides that they want to come into the room even though they have been asked not to do so. For the most part, MRIs are safe and provide great diagnostic pictures helping the doc figure out what is going on in your body.

    October 26, 2011 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Kit

    What an insult to the MRI and Radiologic profession ! Where did they get the information about the "training" being less than a beautician? Please post the reference on that ! I am an MRI "Technologist" since 1994 ! I have
    a B.S. degree including advanced licenses as well in the field of Radiology. 7 years worth of college including
    current State licenses and national requirements met. The ARRT governs our licenses. That stands for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Employers can look up our licenses to see if they are in good standing
    before hiring as well. BTW, all "technologists" have to have continuing education
    every two years including CPR. We have to meet the requirements to keep our licenses AND I would like to add
    that "MRI" departments as well as Radiology departments are ACR accredited (American College of Radiology), which
    hold high standards. When you get any diagnostic exam, ask the technologist if the site is "ACR" accredited. Medicare
    is only paying for ACR sites now, so everyone is up to date or in the process of doing so. This news story shows video of extreme "what if " situations. What a joke. The technologists are not only properly trained to be there in the first place, but are also monitored by the attending Radiologist, which is the MD who reads the scans !
    Boo and Hiss to CNN for this story !!!!!
    (I am sure I will not be the last MRI technologist or radiologic technologist that will post a thumbs down on this
    (( Elizabeth, please stick to putting on your lipstick correctly and looking good in front of the camera and refrain from these silly and misinformed stories in the future. Oh, and please be sure to read the links below so you too, can be properly informed about the MRI "technicians" as you like to call us,
    who are trained "less" than beauticians." I think you may be embarrassed about your reporting after viewing the sites.))
    I would finally, like to post the ACR and ARRT links so that our readers can see that we are professionals and should
    be respected.



    October 26, 2011 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jeff COWAN

      I recently had a brain mri following a stroke. I found the staff knowledgeable they did not ask for my wallet Ithe mri was quite loud even with ear plugs. my debit card and credit cards were wiped by the magnet and it took me weeks to replace and had to rely on son to pay for meds on discharge to use checks if taken

      October 26, 2011 at 22:26 | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      Excuse me Carol, But Radiologists in general do not have training in the physics of these machines, and they are not "tech trained". MRI tech training is like X-ray Tech training. They train you how to basically operate the machine and to psychologically convince the patient that their "senses" when they go near the thing that say "warning warning" are purely psychological.

      Techs are not created and trained equally and they themselves can be detrimental to the patient in their naive level of understanding.

      There are risks involved. And for some people those risks are necessary to save life or limb. But many are put through these devices unnecessarily and repeatedly so.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:34 | Report abuse |
  34. Ana

    And....you can walk on the street and got hit by car...or by meteorite...

    October 26, 2011 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      So true Ana. I believe a public needs to quit being naive about their own medical care and how their bodies work and about medical procedures, evaluations, and pharmaceuticals.

      There is no reason that understanding the biological make up of our bodies and some basic understanding of of the medical field cannot be taught to public school children. All should learn first aid, and all should know the basic human anatomy.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:37 | Report abuse |
  35. Amy Lee Parker

    1. I can not stand close spaces. The first time I went in an MRI, I just about brought the building down trying to get out of it. It's just too closed in.
    2. Because of my back injury, I can not stay still long enough for the machine to do what is needed.

    Because of 1 and 2 I have to be put to sleep to have an MRI done. I usually jerk like I am being shocked in my sleep so they really really have to knock me out so my nerves and mucles can relax enough to get a clean MRI. Usually with a morphine drip.

    Also I am wide across my shoulders and arms and usually they have to take extra pre-caution so I want get burned from the machine. I usually get an MRI once a year due to my back injury. This last time I was sent to a new place. Since I have had to do this many times in the last 7 years, I was very detailed in my needs and what it would take to get this done. I wasn't taken seriously.

    They didn't give me enough meds to keep me knocked out. So I woke up inside the machine. But the fact that I woke up screaming that I was being burnt and was told that wasn't possible really got me. I kept yelling get me out, it's burning me! Get me out, it's burning me. The nurse, said there was nothing inside the machine that could possibly burn me. I had enough morphine in me, I told her just how and where she could lay down and find out! She had no idea it was possible. Her knowledge of the machine was very little, next to none!

    October 26, 2011 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      I am so sorry to hear of your experiences Amy. Yes, the techs just "blow you off" . I've had that happen to me.

      Regarding your jerking, you are sensitive to electromagnetic fields and should not be put through the MRI no more than what is really necessary. Every year sounds excessive. Maybe time to look up some new specialists.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
  36. Stephanie

    This lady is an idiot. I have been a TECHNOLOGIST for five years and she is clueless as to what it takes be a Technologist. I have an A.S., and am RT(R)(MR). That means I have sat for TWO national board examinations, sit through 24 CEUs every two year to maintain my licenses in both modalities in addition to the countless hours of reading on pulse sequences and exam techniques that I DON'T have to do. I have stood inside a scan room for over 2-1/2 hours holding a patient's hand to get them through their test. I have refused to scan countless other patients because they have implants that their MDs said were okay to be scanned when I know they are not. I can guarantee you that I start more IVs (safely) a day than most beauticians and RNs combined. Stick to what you know Cohen.

    October 26, 2011 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ultrasonoannie

      AMEN! I'm a sonographer, but my closest friends are MRI TECHNOLOGISTS and this entire story just irked my soul! Many RT's, contrary to popular belief, actually have more invested in their education than (dare I say it?) nurses! I have FIVE registries under my belt. I just don't take kindly to hearing anyone in the diagnostic professional field being talked down about.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:35 | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      Tell me Stephanie, Do you know how to adjust the electromagnetic radiation level downward if the machine is possibly calculating too high of an amount for a patient ? Or do you just follow what the machine decides to do ?

      Many medical facilities let the machines determine everything. How would you know if the machine malfunctioned and made a mistake ?

      October 26, 2011 at 22:43 | Report abuse |
  37. Fiona

    I've had three MRIs done. I wasn't prepared at all for the first one, which was given in a satellite center by a sleepy, inept technician. He provided NO hearing protection, and the MRI was of my head. My hearing was permanently damaged. He told me to leave my car keys on a table just feet from the machine. He left the door open between the imaging room and his monitoring station. The next two MRIs were done in the main medical facility, by a well-trained and caring tech. She double checked me AND the room for metal, gave me three layers of hearing protection, a blanket (the rooms are kept cold), and told me everything that would happen beforehand. My advice is if you are uncomfortable with the situation when you show up for your MRI (and you are ambulatory) ask for a supervisor or just leave and reschedule. It's not worth risking your health and safety to be a good little patient and ignore your intuition in order to make sure the facility gets its money.

    October 26, 2011 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Sandy

    This article is done very poorly! I am very disappointed in CNN. I have been an MRI Technologist (not a Technician, they are the ones who change the oil in your car!) for over 10 years. Standards vary from facility to facility not state to state and the only metal that is pulled towards the magnet is ferrous metal, not anything metal. They should have a much better way to explain the amazing technology with out trying to elicit unnecessary fear in out patients!

    October 26, 2011 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. sparkle

    A MRI saved my life. I thank God everyday for these technologist.

    October 26, 2011 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. joey

    i had an MRI of my head, they didnt find anything

    October 26, 2011 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Hylton MD

    Great reporting CNN you bunch of freaking MORONS!!! Way to propogate mass hysteria, the kind of thing you love to do. Yes of course there is danger if MRIs are not done correctly.... same with BAKING A CAKE!!! MRIs are an amazing tool that we use millions of times SAFELY every day to help SAVE PEOPLE'S LIVES (I know because I am an MD who uses them). People are already scared to get them because they get claustrophobic and all too often refuse them or have to be sedated to have them done (which comes with its own risk). Contradulations, how many people do you think you have hurt this time with your phenominal reporting?!

    October 26, 2011 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      You cannot possibly be a real physician, as a real physician would have no problem with people knowing important safety facts about an MRI. You are lucky that CNN didn't report that the MRI's have Helium in them, and if there is a Helium leak, it robs the oxygen out of the air in the room, and the patient can become asphyxiated and die.

      I was electrocuted in an MRI and had other injury and have never been the same since. The machine was malfunctioning (as can all things made by humans) and there was an inexperience "tech" manning the controls. Very possibly there was a problem with the fitting of a core cover which exposed me to the danger. I was one of a number of patients who left that MRI in seizures/convulsions, not because we were "claustrophobic" but because these things can have real dangers.

      Tell the truth.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:12 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Why don't you google how often a machine quenches, aka, lets out the helium, I've been a board certified mri tech for 7 years, every single morning we log out helium levels and pressure, which doesn't really change, but if it was, the machine would be shut down until fixed because of the risk for quenching, also those levels are hard wired into a system that is monitored 24/7, so if we don't catch it, someone lets us know, about the electrocution thing, its not really possible, some patients experience peripheral nerve stimulation, which could seem like your seezing, it just means your hands or feet were connected, making a circuit that sends little shock feelings into your body, if something else happened, its not the techs fault, it would be the manufacturer aka ge, phillips, toshiba, etc. who would be to blame, just like a car the person driving knows how to turn out on, hit the gas, break, but when a wheel falls off do you blame the inexperienced driver for that? Ummm no!

      October 26, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
    • Hylton, MD

      Well I am an MD and I am not denying there are accidents with MRIs. What I am saying is that CNN is totally irresponsible scaring the general public out of diagnostic imaging that saves many more people than it hurts. Sorry you got hurt (I'm sure you have an excellent lawyer and will be well compensated for being "electrocuted" and for your "convulsions") but CNN has a responsibility to report news and not stirr the pot in this horrible environment where MDs can't take care of people because CNN is scaring them and "empowering" them.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Sheila, I am on the side of getting a test if needed, but I am always amazed the people will SHOUT about their degrees and clinical time but claim that there is no possibility for errors. Best to tell people not to walk in with their keys and pennies. In my own case, my shoulders are wide, and no, I was not told that I could lose hearing, and my doctor ordered an MRI after I had had surgery, and the technologist said the surgery wouldn't heal because of the MRI. I am still wondering what the effects of the MRI are, if healing could be stopped by it. What other immune system effects are changed by the MRI?

      October 27, 2011 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
  42. Sheila

    MRI's ARE NOT SAFE ! Beware of the medical establishments definition for safe (means you don't die immediately), but it doesn't mean you don't suffer some harm now or possibly in the future. The Electromagnetic Radiation that you receive in an MRI does call cellular damage, nerve damage, changes in body fluids. If you have an MRI of the brain, you can have personality and behavior changes/effects and it is known that those who undergo Brain MRI can develop early dementia. The Scientific research that has been done does show changes/damage to brain tissue.

    You may not have a choice. You may have a life threatening or painful condition such as a brain tumor and may have to undergo evaluation. But MRI's are given out like they are some sort of "candy" and terribly abused and misused in this country as are CT (CAT) Scans, and Xrays.

    October 26, 2011 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CDJRTR

      Seriously?!?!?!?! Burned by US? CT- perhaps if you are scanned repeatedly over & over in a very short amount of time, but one scan, no way! I'm gonna go out on a limb here & say that either (a) some sue- happy lawyer has fed this crap to you (that's EXACTLY what it is) or (b) you have some mental issues that you need to work on getting resolved. Every facility I have ever worked at, done clinicals in, or been a patient in have been ACR certified. Where in the world did you have your exams? Hell?

      October 26, 2011 at 23:50 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Sheila – just found this post. After MRA of neck and MRI of brain and head I've been unable to sleep, it's been 6 nights so far.. I don't see scientific research that shows brain changes as result of MRI. Can you point me in a direction. Nervous my sleep is gone now.

      February 23, 2016 at 21:15 | Report abuse |
    • LT

      Your points are interesting, please provide more detailed info or links where I can read more about some of your points, the cellular changes for example. An MRI has been recommended to me for shoulder pain, due to a car accident. Seems like likely soft tissue damage and my experience is that each and every doctor pushes for an MRI, prior to that Xrays were pushed too even though the belief by the doctors is soft tissue damage which from what I was told Xrays do not show, the reason for the Xrays the doc says was because it is typical for insurance to require Xrays before an MRI can be approved by the insurance. I refused Xrays (and that unnecessary radiation exposure no matter how small) since the doc felt they were not even medically necessary. The physician assistant tells me MRIs are safe, the doc used the words pretty (or mostly) safe. That wasn't definitive or confidence building. I prefer to research these things and not just trust that general population's version of "safe" is the same as mine. To be fair, I also called ahead and asked the technologist some specific questions about what the MRI actually does to the body to get the images, as I recall he said something about the machine forces certain hyrdocarbons in the body to line up so that he can get a clear image. He was very comforting and kind to answer my questions. He said he himself had over 50 MRI's done to him because he frequently tests the equipment and he said he is fine except for being bald he joked which he said there is no way to know if the MRI's were the cause of that. After that conversation I got to wondering how can they really know how safe it is to force molecules/carbons/cells to line up just so that we can get an image, how can we as humans really be certain that there will not be any negative after effects soon after or years later as a result of subjecting the body to the high magnetic and radio frequency levels forcing cells in the body do such things that an MRI does. Especially since our cells were not designed to act in this way and it is essentially "unnatural" to force the cells to behave a certain way just to get an image...

      January 17, 2018 at 21:52 | Report abuse |
  43. Jacob

    As a MR Technologist I find this article hilarious!!! Less training than a beautician? Really? How about this. Check your facts before you open your mouth lady. I challenge you to do some research. http://www.arrt.org

    October 26, 2011 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      Absolutely! This is such a slap in the face for us techs, I can tell this editor didn't have too much training to write it! I would love to talk quantum physics with them!

      October 26, 2011 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
    • CindyD

      As a Board Certified A.R.R.T. (R)(MR)Technologist I stand with Jacob. How about doing your due diligence and research before reporting nonsense like this. Shame on you CNN!

      October 26, 2011 at 22:14 | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      There are badly trained techs or techs that just don't remember what they are taught, and others that don't care to apply what they are taught. Just process the patient quickly get them out, go onto the next one and disregard any warnings or problems with the greatest of apathy or ignorance. So as I am laying in a CT Scan getting badly burnt, and calling out to the cech, she gets mad as she just wants to keep doing the scan. Then everyone who sees me wants to know, how did your face get so burnt. Then I can't touch my face, wash my face, and my skin peels off my face and scalp for a number of months !!!

      I've been burnt and injured in CT, electrocuted and other injuries in an MRI, and burnt, injured in an ultrasound. And I am still having problems from the Ultrasound. NEVER AGAIN will someone touch me with one of those things ! Trained Techs ? Trained in lying to you, that is what they are trained in.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Sheila: Instead of pointing to their credentials, they should be looking at why you get burned by every test. There are some people who cannot go outside in daylight, or even near florescent lighting without being burned. If I were you, I would get genetic testing, and also find a specialist who knows about this condition. And yes, people with such conditions might want to think twice before getting any of these tests.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:19 | Report abuse |
  44. RadTech of 7 years

    MRI= Magnetic Resonance Imaging. I know this, and I am a CT tech. All the MRI techs I have known are the most caring, patient, and knowledgeable people. If this article scared you out of an MRI, then so be it. Sometimes the media gets bored and they say "Lets do a news story about how scary x-ray/CT/MRI is!!!". Yes CT uses quite large doses of radiation to get the images. But its up to YOU as a patient to decide if your tummy ache, sniffles, and headache is worth it. Take responsibility for yourself as a PATIENT and decide. Dont rely on media outlets who are a bunch of worthelss liars anyway.

    October 26, 2011 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Ultrasonoannie

    First of all... to all those who are replying who claim to be medical professionals, let's start with the fact that we're being called 'TECHNICIANS'. We are NOT TECHNICIANS, we are TECHNOLOGISTS. And secondly, I love my beauitician, I feel like she does an outstanding job, but I know of NOT ONE SINGLE TECHNOLOGIST who would equate his/her education and training to that of a beautician. This entire story is full of incorrect information! Based on what I do know about this particular subject, it makes me wonder how credible any of CNN's stories are!!!

    October 26, 2011 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RadTech of 6 years

    This piece is completely ridiculous! I am disgusted at the lack of research about the education of technologists performing your exams. Yes you flashed a bunch of pictures of scary items attatched to the MRI magnet, HOWEVER – NONE of those items are things that a technologist would utilize or would even let be brought into an MRI suite. I can guarantee you that after hour cleaning crews and people withut proper education didn't read warning signs on doors before entering secured areas during the after hours. Also, FYI only metals of ferrous quality are prohibited from being taken into an MRI suite – not ALL metals and in the case of cardiac stents, clips, implants, pacemakers, ortho work and various other things that contra-indicate the ability to have an MRI are all evaluated before a person is brought in. I can not tell how many times that I have taken plain orbit films to determine if a steel worker has metal shards in their eyes before they are alliowed in the scanner. CNN you should be ashamed of stirring panic through the media outlet by stating untruths! I'm sure the ASRT and ARRT are not pleased with you guys right now, along with all of my fellow HARD WORKING, EDUCATED AND LICENSED TECHNOLOGIST!! At the VERY LEAST a public apology for the misinformation should occur.

    October 26, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Timothy Stiles

    As a medical physicist, I too feel compelled to post that CNN really did a poor job on this article. I am reminded stories I've heard on the dangers of a very corrosive chemical known as "dihydrogen monoxide" that has been known to degrade metal and is a major component of acid rain. Worst of all, it's in your drinking water!. I'm sure CNN will soon have an equally enlightened article urging us to call congress to demand that this so-called H2O is immediately removed from all public water supplies.

    In all seriousness, yes everything has possible dangers. You should be careful walking down stairs, I tripped once and broke my ankle. I don't take the elevator because of that. MRI's are safe and effective means of imaging the body, certainly better than the days when exploratory surgery was common. CNN should be ashamed of themselves for this shoddy reporting!

    October 26, 2011 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      Maybe you should learn of all the carcinogens added to drinking water to supposedly "make it safe" for us to drink. I am sure if you are a doctor you may not be aware. I find many doctors are not even aware of the warnings on the drugs the prescribe or of dangerous combinations of drugs, or how to properly determine dose. Heck they can't even read a medical chart. I cannot tell you how many times I have been prescribed a drug that was in my medical chart for "allergy".

      Doctors order scans like candy. Not everyone has a tumor, internal bleeding, portal vein anomalies etc. Patients need to be properly evaluated to rule out other causes for symptoms. Doctors too often just order a scan first and evaluate later or just say "duh, don't know". Medical laziness and wanting to process as many patients as possible through their offices for maximum $$.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:51 | Report abuse |
  48. Sandi

    It is obvious that minimal research was done by anyone associated with this ridiculous excuse for journalism! Shame on you CNN for choosing the route of inaccurate sensationalism rather than welcome the opportunity to inform and educate? Seems to me that a being a beautician requires more training that a "reporter" at CNN. I certainly did not mean to offend beauticians everywhere? That is a profession requiring talent and skill whereas a reporter for CNN needs only 10 fingers and a BIG mouth! I for one will never watch any CNN program or visit their website ever again!

    October 26, 2011 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      That is why they gave us the comment section. They stimulate a conversational topic, and sometimes with bias, and let the masses "go at it".

      October 26, 2011 at 22:53 | Report abuse |
  49. Sheila

    Sarah, Little shock feelings ? I had 5 electrical burns on my face, and black charred bone fragments coming out my nose and down my throat for over 3 months ! A little shock ...bull. And not all facilities monitor for helium leaking continuously. While we don't hear of these things in the new, they can and have happened.

    October 26, 2011 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Ohreally

    This story is a joke at best. The NY patient who died from an O2 canister is replayed over and over when one of these stories comes up. Odd they don't have any other examples. Hearing loss? Really? Burns requiring skin grafts? Really? There is nothing worse then when the media tries to cover medical stories.

    October 26, 2011 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      What CNN has reported is True. They may have offended on the topic of training level, but these are real risks of the MRI. Do some Internet research and you will find out these things are true dear. Some people don't like truth.

      October 26, 2011 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.