Yoga pants and fitness apparel have become multi-functional staples in almost everyone’s wardrobe. The market for stylish and comfortable athleisure attire has exploded over the past few years and the versatility of this clothing has allowed it to become common dress for many activities including chores around the house, running to the store, as pajamas, and to actually work out in. Although yoga pants may be perfect for when you’re in downward facing dog, they can cause major problems during some radiology imaging studies.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI uses high powered magnets to show the different tissues in your body.  Prior to your MRI the technologist will ask you a series of questions to ensure you are free of any metals, both inside and outside of your body.  This means jewelry, phones, wallets, watches, etc., will need to be removed before entering the MRI room. When it comes to what you wear for an MRI, yoga pants may seem like a safe bet, with no zippers, snaps or metal buttons, however hospitals across the United States have recently started banning yoga clothing, lycra, spandex and other athletic wear from MRI appointments. Athletic clothing and undergarments can contain metallic microfibers to deter odor and bacteria. In MRI scans those metal fibers can heat up and produce burns on your skin.

Most people are unaware of the risks and are just looking for something comfortable to wear. Unfortunately, this type of comfortable clothing can cause an unnecessary risk. “When the technologist asks you a series of questions prior to an MRI, some of the questions may sound silly but the number one priority for an MRI technologist is the safety of patients, visitors and staff,” said Craig Player, Administrative Director of Imaging Services at Mather Hospital.  “It is important to answer every question to the best of your ability before proceeding. If you are unsure of an answer, it’s ok to so,” Player said.

When preparing for your next imaging study make sure you put safety first. Start by checking the tags inside any clothing and even undergarments before wearing it to an MRI scan. If you see anti-microbial on the label, meaning it kills microbes or bacteria, this is most likely done through silver or “Silverescent” technology, a fabric that incorporates silver-bonded threads to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the garment.  Every company labels their clothing differently so it may be hard to tell if your garments are safe to wear. You can also try looking up the product online or just opt for good old-fashioned 100% cotton T-shirts and sweatpants. Many facilities simply are moving towards having patients wear gowns. Remember that you can always ask to wear a patient gown at your next imaging appointment to avoid any unnecessary risks.