A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner has an incredibly powerful magnetic field. This is why many facilities and hospitals strictly enforce restricted access to the entire suite. To achieve this, conceptual zones have been established within the scanner’s general perimeter.
The Four MRI Safety Zones
Some zones can extend outside the suite or room, all the way to other floors and areas because the magnetic field extends in three dimensions. That said, four main ones have been established:
- Zone One: This is the safest zone. It is essentially all areas that the general public can access freely. No hazards are posed by the magnet in these areas. The scope of this zone includes the entrance to the MR facility or hospital.
- Zone Two: This is the buffer between zones one and three. At this point, the patient is with an MR personnel, under general supervision. Generally, no magnet hazards are posed here either. Areas include the dressing room, interview area, and reception area.
- Zone Three: Zone Three is much more restricted, and must have a physical barrier. Here, only patients that have undergone an interview and filled out a questionnaire are allowed, alongside an approved MR personnel. Given this, field hazards should be delineated clearly. Non-MR personnel are not allowed.
- Zone Four: Sometimes called the magnet room, this is only accessible by passing Zone Three. At times, it is considered inside of Zone Three as it does not have access directly to other unrestricted areas.
Within the walls of the MR suite itself lies an invisible boundary. This is defined through the 5Gauss line of the magnetic field. This is the point wherein the magnetic field starts to affect electromagnetic devices like pacemakers. Since the magnetic field extends to all directions, this means the 5 Gauss line can reach areas outside the suite, all the way to other floors of the hospital or facility if it’s big enough.
For safety, since these can neither be felt nor seen, there are occasionally visual markers on floors or walls. This is particularly important outside the scanner room.
As previously mentioned, the MRI scanner machine itself is made up of magnets. These are housed in a cylindrical superconducting MR scanner, whose body also typically contains the radio frequency system. All of this is controlled by a computer system.
Like with any machine, it is also prone to errors. Regular maintenance can help prevent issues, but sometimes, they just can’t be helped. MRI coil repair cannot be helped in some cases, usually when graininess or lines appear in images. Some of the most common ones include temperature errors with the heat exchanger and low MRI helium levels, all involving MRI parts.
MRI safety zones are there for a reason: upholding the health and well-being of others. Undergoing the process is not to be taken lightly. Since this is an incredibly sensitive procedure, even the slightest glitches are cause for concern. Make sure your machinery is up to date and maintained well.
Rest assured that DirectMed Parts has professionally trained, top-of-the-line professionals on the team. We specialize in CT and MRI parts and coils, well aware of the importance of delivering accurate, high-quality parts in a timely manner.