Hospitals across the country are asking patients to leave their yoga pants at home before taking an MRI in order to prevent potential burns.
Medical institutions including Stony Brook University’s hospitals in New York; the University of California, Los Angeles; and Mount Sinai in New York City, have made athleisure wear (clothing designed for working out) off limits to incoming MRI patients.
“Many clothing companies are now using metallic fibers in exercise, spandex, and stretch clothing,” a sign posted on the wall of a medical facility in Pennsylvania warned. “These fibers can burn you if worn in the MRI scanner. If you have on clothing, even undergarments, that could potentially have these fibers, please notify the technologist.”
Those tiny metallic fibers keep odor and bacteria from building up while you work out. However, the fibers react negatively when you’re in an MRI, creating a process that’s similar to what happens during magnetic induction cooking.
“I suspect many patients are unaware of the clothing risks,” Bradley Delman, MD, and associate professor of radiology at Mount Sinai said in a statement. “Even very comfortable clothing can present unnecessary risks. Safety must come first.”
For years, patients have been asked to take off any metallic clothing or jewelry before entering an MRI machine, but the new ban on athleisure wear was only recently introduced. In 2014, patient Jenn Marr, who was wearing yoga pants, said she felt a burning sensation during an MRI session. Thankfully, she alerted the radiologist after 15 minutes.
“I was getting a burning sensation so strong that I had to press the emergency button for them to stop the machine and pull me out,” Marr told the Canadian news site GlobalNews.
In 2012, an 11-year-old girl received a second-degree burn caused by her undershirt reacting with the MRI machine. The clothing contained silver microfibers that were undetected before the scan. According to the American Journal of Neuroradiology, the patient was undergoing the scan for scoliosis.
We know you want to be comfy while in a hospital waiting room, but if you’re planning on having an MRI, you might want to give those yoga pants a second thought. While your personal comfort is important, your health and safety should always come first.