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Man Coughs Up Nail After MRI


MRI's aren’t done on anyone with known metal in their body, but Prax Sanchez, 72, didn’t know he had any in his. The Colorado man recently went for MRI to evaluate some ear problems he’d been having.

Sanchez is reported to say, "I never had any idea there was any metal in my face. When I went to lay down on the MRI machine, I had a real pain on my right side under my eye." The MRI was not completed due to the pain.

When the MRI was over, Sanchez coughed up a nail. The nail had been stuck in his nose for years. It was over an inch long. The MRI most likely dislodged the nail.

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MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It involves the use of a powerful magnetic field. For safety reasons, great care is taken to make sure that iron-containing (ferromagnetic) objects aren’t brought into the MR area. This includes oxygen tanks, watches, jewelry, and clothing with metallic fasteners. The powerful magnetic field of the MR system will attract these objects, often with enough force to turn them into flying objects which can cause harm when they strike someone in their path.

The powerful magnetic field will pull on any iron-containing object in the body, such as aneurysm clips or “old nails.” No MRI exam will be performed if a "ferromagnetic" aneurysm clip is present, because of the risk of the clip moving or being dislodged which could result in bleeding when the clip is torn away. If it is known that the patient has a bullet or other metallic fragment in their body, MRI’s are avoided due to the potential risk that it could change position, possibly causing injury.

MRI has become the preferred procedure for diagnosing a large number of potential problems in many different parts of the body. Physicians use MRI to examine the brain, spine, joints (e.g., knee, shoulder, wrist, and ankle), abdomen, pelvic region, breast, blood vessels, heart and other body parts.

NY Daily News
Radiology Info (MRI Safety)