MRI safety when one has a tattoo or permanent makeup treatment has been a question considering that the infamous “Dear Abby” letter in the 1980’s. A patient with permanent cosmetics had an MRI and felt a “warming up” or burning sensation during the MRI procedure. Is this reason for alarm, or perhaps a reason not to have an MRI in case 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. Within the late 70’s, the process began evolving in to the technology that we use for diagnosing illnesses in medicine today.
People have decorated themselves for centuries by way of makeup, jewelry, clothing, and traditional and cosmetic tattooing. Procedures like eyeliner, eyebrows, lips, eye shadow, and cheek blush are generally done in the U.S. and round the world. Other procedures called “para-medical tattooing” are carried out on scars (camouflage) and breast cancer survivors who have had reconstructive surgery having a nipple “graft” that is lacking in color. In this sort of paramedical work, the grafted nipple developed by the surgeon is tattooed an all natural color to fit the healthy breast.
Magnetic resonance imaging is routinely performed, particularly for diagnosing head, neck and brain regions where permanent cosmetics like eyeliner are commonly applied. Because of few reports of burning sensations in the tattooed area throughout an MRI, some medical technicians have questioned whether or not they should perform MRI procedures on patients with permanent cosmetics.
Dr. Frank G. Shellock has conducted laboratory and clinical investigations in magnetic resonance imaging safety for more than twenty years, and has addressed the concerns noted above. Research was conducted of 135 subjects who underwent MR imaging after having permanent cosmetics applied. Of those, only two individuals (1.5%) experienced problems associated with MR imaging. One subject reported a sensation of ‘slight tingling’ as well as the other subject reported a sensation of ‘burning’, both transient in nature. According to Dr. Shellock’s research, traditional tattoos caused more problems with burning sensations in the region of the tattoo.
It is interesting to remember that most allergies to traditional tattoos commence to occur when an individual is subjected to heat, like exposure to the sun, or time spent in a hot steam room, or jacuzzi tub. Specific ingredients inside the tattoo pigments like cadmium yellow often cause irritation in some individuals. The result is swelling and itching in a few areas of the tattoo. This usually subsides when being exposed to the temperature source ends. When the swelling continues, then the topical cream can be found from a physician (usually cortizone cream) to aid relieve the irritation.
Dr. Shellock recommends that those who have permanent makeup procedures should advise their MRI technician. Because “artifacts” can show up on the results, it is necessary for your medical expert to be familiar with why you have the artifacts. These artifacts are predominantly associated with the presence of pigments designed to use iron oxide or other type ccssdw metal and appear in the immediate area of the tattoo or permanent makeup. Additionally, the technician can give the sufferer a cold compress (a wet wash cloth) to make use of through the MRI procedure in the rare case of the burning sensation in the tattooed area.
To conclude, it is actually clear to find out that the benefits of owning an MRI outweigh the slight chance of a reaction from permanent makeup eyeliner styles or traditional tattooing throughout 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. Because the procedures related to permanent makeup be a little more main stream the general public gets to be more conscious of the benefits, especially for individuals that have problems with illness, disease, injury or scarring. Within my recent article “Constructing a Bridge: Cosmetic Plastic Surgery and Micropigmentation” I explored your relationship between cosmetic surgery and permanent makeup. I might now want to discuss how permanent makeup could work within the solution for many different medical ailments.