Wearing Workout Clothes in an MRI Machine Can Burn You, Hospitals Warn

Doctors say the clothing can get up to 150 degrees

For anyone getting an MRI, it's easy to put on some comfy workout clothes while you sit in a tiny space for minutes at a time as the machine scans you.  

But hospitals are now warning patients that some workout clothing can burn your skin in an MRI scanner. 

Workout brands will put metallic fibers in some exercise clothing like spandex yoga pants or stretchy material. This is to keep odor and bacteria away during work outs. 

But these fibers, which doctors warn are sometimes in undergarments like bras and boxer briefs as well, can heat up and burn you in an MRI machine. 

"The clothes and pants you're wearing could go up to over 150 degrees," said Dr. Eric Goodman, a radiologist at Sharp Rees-Stealy in San Diego. "It's a lot of vendors and stores and not just yoga clothes. It's in a lot of things we didn't know about until recently." 

Lululemon Athletica has put up signs in some locations adding they care about the safety of their customers. 

On Friday, they sent NBC 7 this statement: 

“Health care professionals recommend people about to undergo an MRI remove their jewelry, watches, and any clothing that might contain forms of metals.

We have informed our guests that a selection of  lululemon’s products are created with Silverescent technology, a fabric that incorporates silver-bonded threads to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the garment. This technology has been utilized over the last number of years, and we provide information on which products contain Silverescent technology on our website, app and on the care label and hang tag when the product is sold.

Many companies that offer athletic clothing to their customers use similar types of materials, so we encourage people to check the labels of their clothing.  And, of course, out of an abundance of caution, if they have any question or concerns, we suggest wearing other clothing to a procedure such as an MRI."

Lululemon said it is important to talk to your technologist or doctor and let them know what kind of clothes you are wearing before you enter the machine. 

Some local hospitals, like the University of California at Los Angeles, are now handing out pamphlets to patients, warning them of the potential danger.

The pamphlet says, "Data has proven that during MRI Scanning, some clothing can heat up, resulting in serious skin burns." 

According to Ric McGill of the radiology department, UCLA Health requires all patients to change into gowns prior to their MRI scan.

"It's definitely a big concern to us in radiology," added Dr. Goodman. "We recommend people remove almost all of their clothing prior to the MRI. We have gowns and extra undergarments for people to wear." 

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