Magnetic resonance imaging-induced burns: is the safety questionnaire enough? – a case report

Dr Nicholas Tang1, Mr. Anand Ramakrishnan1

1Royal Melbourne Hospital, Mount Waverley, Australia


With well-defined safety criteria and minimal effects on the patient, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered to be a relatively safe diagnostic modality. Many of these safety questions are aimed at preventing unwanted tissue burns as a result of a conduction loop formed from a tissue conductor (ECG leads, surface coils, implants, metallic objects, etc.). MRI-induced burns secondary to conducting loops formed from body parts are very rare, with only a handful of case reports present in the literature[1]. We present the case of a 61-year-old patient that was referred to our institution for diagnostic MR imaging of an abdominal mass. She had been cleared by our institution’s current MRI safety guidelines. 15 minutes into the MRI, the patient complained of a burning sensation between her abdominal pannus and right thigh, with subsequent termination of the MR procedure. A superficial burn was identified in this region of interest, a consequence of the inadvertent creation of a closed conduction loop causing a localized increase of temperature in this area. The patient was managed conservatively, and complete healing was noted on follow-up in outpatient clinic. While uncommon, given the increasing use and access of MR imaging, an update of safety questionnaires and protocols should be completed in order to avoid such injuries.

  1. Ito, Y., et al., Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-induced deep second-degree burns of lower extremities by conducting loop. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol, 2007. 21(8): p. 1140-1.


Nicholas Tang is a surgical doctor at the Royal Melbourne Hospital


ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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