Published: September 2010

Transdermal medicine patches - risk of burns during MRI scans

Prescriber Update 31(3): 21
September 2010

Healthcare professionals are advised that transdermal patches containing metal can overheat during MRI scans and have been reported to cause discomfort or skin burns in the immediate area of the patch.

When referring patients for MRI scans, healthcare professionals should advise patients to inform the technologist if they are wearing a transdermal patch. Unless the technologist advises otherwise the patch should be removed and disposed of before the scan, then replaced after the scan.

Many transdermal patches, such as nicotine replacement or pain relieving patches, are also available without a prescription meaning Medical Radiation Technologists should check if patients are using transdermal patches before MRI scans.

Some patches contain metal in the backing of the patch, which is not always visible.