MRI safety when one has a tattoo or permanent makeup procedure is a question since the infamous “Dear Abby” letter back in the 1980’s. A patient with permanent cosmetics had an MRI and felt a “heating up” or burning sensation during the MRI procedure. Is this cause of alarm, or a reason not to have an MRI if you have tattoos?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging was first discovered by Felix Block and Edward Purcell in 1946, and both were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1952. In the late 70’s, the technique began evolving into the technology that we use for diagnosing illnesses in medicine today.
Women and men have decorated themselves for hundreds of years by means of makeup, jewelry, clothing, and traditional and cosmetic tattooing. Procedures like eyeliner, eyebrows, lips, eye shadow, and cheek blush are normally carried out in the U.S. and around the world. Other procedures called “para-medical tattooing” are performed on scars (camouflage) and cancer of the breast survivors who have had reconstructive surgery having a nipple “graft” which is with a lack of color. In this kind of paramedical work, the grafted nipple created by the surgeon is tattooed an organic color to complement the healthy breast.
Magnetic resonance imaging is routinely performed, particularly for diagnosing head, neck and brain regions where permanent cosmetics like eyeliner are generally applied. Due to a few reports of burning sensations within the tattooed area during an MRI, some medical technicians have questioned if they should perform MRI procedures on patients with permanent cosmetics.
Dr. Frank G. Shellock has conducted laboratory and clinical investigations in the area of magnetic resonance imaging safety for more than 20 years, and it has addressed the concerns noted above. Research was conducted of 135 subjects who underwent MR imaging after having permanent cosmetics applied. Of such, only two individuals (1.5%) experienced problems associated with MR imaging. One subject reported a sensation of ‘slight tingling’ and also the other subject reported a sensation of ‘burning’, both transient in general. According to Dr. Shellock’s research, traditional tattoos caused more difficulties with burning sensations in the region in the tattoo.
It really is interesting to note that most allergy symptoms to traditional tattoos start to occur when an individual is subjected to heat, such as sun exposure, or time spent in a hot steam room, or jacuzzi tub. Specific ingredients within the tattoo pigments like cadmium yellow tend to cause irritation in a few individuals. The result is swelling and itching in a few areas of the tattoo. This usually subsides when being exposed to the heat source ends. When the swelling continues, then a topical cream can be found from a physician (usually cortizone cream) to assist relieve the irritation.
Dr. Shellock recommends that anyone who has permanent makeup procedures should advise their MRI technician. Because “artifacts” can display up on the results, it is important for your medical professional to be aware of what is causing the artifacts. These artifacts are predominantly related to the presence of pigments designed to use iron oxide or other type ccssdw metal and happen in the immediate part of the tattoo or permanent makeup. Additionally, the technician may give the individual a cold compress (a wet wash cloth) to use through the MRI procedure in the rare case of the burning sensation within the tattooed area.
To conclude, it really is clear to find out that the advantages of getting an MRI outweigh the slight possibility of a reaction from eyeliner tattooing pictures or traditional tattooing through the MRI. The art and science of permanent makeup goes by many people different names: micropigmentation, permanent cosmetics, derma pigmentation, intradermal cosmetics, dermagraphics and cosmetic tattoos. Since the procedures associated with permanent makeup become more main stream the general public grows more conscious of the benefits, specifically for individuals who suffer from illness, disease, injury or scarring. Within my recent article “Creating a Bridge: Plastic Surgery and Micropigmentation” I explored the relationship between cosmetic surgery and permanent makeup. I would now want to discuss how permanent makeup can work as part of the solution for many different health conditions.