What a metal detector actually does is pretty self-evident by the name of the product… it detects metals. If you’re looking for gold doubloons on the beach or trying to find an underground gas pipe, a conventional metal detector is what you want. But if you’re screening people and objects before they go into the room with the giant magnet at the heart of a magnetic resonance imager (MRI), you’re likely concerned about finding those things – like pocketknives, cell phones, iron-containing jewelry, wheelchairs, medical gas cylinders, etc… – that can be attracted to the magnet with such force that they can fly across the room.
Honestly, most materials made with the purpose of being brought into the MRI room are mostly made up of aluminum, plastics, titanium, brass and other non-magnetic materials. Were a MRI facility to use one of the conventional ‘airport-style’ metal detectors, it’d go off on just about everything that was brought to the room. Talk about annoying! Metal is everywhere, from the rivets in your blue jeans [Beeep] or shoe-lace grommets [Beeep], the clasp or underwire in bras [Beeep], reinforced toes or lugs in shoes [Beeep], gold jewelry [Beeep], stainless steel braces [Beeep] and dental work [Beeep], hair pins [Beeep] and a menagerie of other common, everyday non-magnetic items. If the plain-old metal detector alarms on everyone and everything brought through it, what help is it, really?
But it’s crucial to improve screening and keep the magnetic metals out of the MRI room. If the plain-old metal detector can’t help differentiate between those metals that are meant to be in the MRI room and those that are supposed to be kept out, what does?
Ferromagnetic detectors, such as the Mednovus SAFESCAN™ products, are designed to help MRI providers find magnetic materials to keep them away from the MRI magnet. Whether a hand-held ferromagnetic detector (FMD) such as the Target Scanner™ or pass-through systems such as the Sentinel® 2.0, these products can dramatically improve the quality of the safety screening for patients, visitors and equipment brought to the MRI room.
So, despite the name of this blog, those looking to improve the safety of patients and staff in MRI, as well as enhance the protection of millions of dollars of capital investment in the MRI itself, should NOT be using plain-old metal detection. For MRI screening, providers should be using ferromagnetic detection.Tobias Gilk, President & MRI Safety Director Mednovus, Inc. Tobias.Gilk@Mednovus.com www.MEDNOVUS.com