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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: MRI Side Effects - Scalp feels Sunburned/Tingly

 Pugsley99 - Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:22 am

I am a female, 40, in very good health, recent bloodwork all perfect, slim and active. No previous surgeries or family history of major diseases. For about 9 mo. I've been having a slight resting tremor in my left arm, (which others cant' see, it's very mild, like a vibration) which i saw the GP for. They think it is most likely anxiety undertones as I know I suffer from GAD and have had a stressful year with inlaws. I tend to internalize my feelings so they all come out thru aches and pains. I believe I've had a few anxiety attacks as well, which the Dr. wasn't sure if it was hypoglycemia, but after fasting glucose test, that came back great, and determined that was not my problem. Started getting some tingling down in the fingers on the left hand as well, and that's when they decided to get the brain MRI just to rule out anything major before going with the anxiety diagnosis. I had an open MRI since i wear braces on my teeth. I had no contrast. It last approx. 30-40 mins. I remained very calm , since i've had these before, i knew what to expect. I was apprehensive about getting it done though b/c I felt like I didn't need it and my problems were probably anxiety related. During the last half i noticed the back right side of my head was getting very warm. I have alot of hair which was balled up under my neck. My head was situated on a shaped object which i laid my head onto,it was covered with fabric and snugly fit around my head, i assume the coils were underneath. I didn't buzz the tech b/c at the time I didn't realize maybe I shouldn't be feeling the heat from the machine. I know MRI's are supposed to be safe with no side effects, but my scalp has felt tingling and sunburnt since I got out of there. I mentioned to the tech at the end, and asked ifmy head should feel hot. She said that was normal. This was a 0.6 magnet. I don't know was SAR was used on me. When it first started, the unit read Error, and the tech came in and readjusted the football helmet above my head and clicked it in better and then it worked. Do i need to check on what RF setting was used on me or the SAR? Do machines have automatic settings that won't allow it to heat so much as to damage inside tissue? I went in feeling fine, now i have these weird feelings on my head, it may be my anxiety, but I don't want to overlook the possibility that the Tech or machine made an error. I worry something in/on may have gotten too much exposure and now it will cause a problem as a result. I've read excessive heating can cause problems and coma, etc. It's hard to find those articles, i don't' know if that just pertains to people who have implants, which I don't. I would appreciate your feedback very much. Thank you in advance. By the way, my tingling sensations and some of the tremors have disappeared. The MRI was perfectly fine what they could see, since the braces did add alot of artifacts. Thanks again.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:49 pm

User avatar Hi Pugsley99,

MRI machines work on magnetic variations of the various body tissues allowing pictures to be formed. They should not cause a significant amount of heat.

What may have happened is that your head may have been resting on a nerve that feeds that area subsequently causing the nerve to "fall asleep". This is similar to hitting your funny bone. It can take a while for these sensations to wear off. If they continue for much longer you should see your doctor, though, for an examination.

Best wishes.

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