MRI safety when one has semi permanent lash has been a question since the infamous “Dear Abby” letter back in the 1980’s. A patient with permanent eyeliner had an MRI and felt a “heating up” or burning sensation during the MRI procedure. Is it reason for alarm, or perhaps a reason to NOT have an MRI for those who have tattoos?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging was 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.
People have decorated themselves for thousands of years by way of makeup, jewelry, clothing, and traditional and cosmetic tattooing. Procedures including eyeliner, eyebrows, lips, eye shadow, and cheek blush are commonly completed in the U.S. and round the world. Other procedures referred to as “para-medical tattooing” are carried out on scars (camouflage) and breast cancers survivors that have had reconstructive surgery with 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 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 generally applied. Because of a few reports of burning sensations in 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 field of magnetic resonance imaging safety more than two decades, and it has addressed the concerns noted above. A report was conducted of 135 subjects who underwent MR imaging after you have permanent cosmetics applied. Of those, only two individuals (1.5%) experienced problems related to MR imaging. One subject reported a sensation of ‘slight tingling’ and also the other subject reported a sensation of ‘burning’, both transient in nature. According to Dr. Shellock’s research, traditional tattoos caused more difficulties with burning sensations in the region of the tattoo.
It is interesting to note that most allergy symptoms to traditional tattoos begin to occur when one is subjected to heat, including sun exposure, or time spent in a hot steam room, or jacuzzi tub. Specific ingredients inside the tattoo pigments like cadmium yellow tend to cause irritation in certain individuals. The end result is swelling and itching in jjsegy areas of the tattoo. This usually subsides when contact with the temperature source ends. When the swelling continues, then the topical cream can be found coming from a physician (usually cortizone cream) to help relieve the irritation.
Dr. Shellock recommends that anyone who has permanent makeup should advise their MRI technician. Because “artifacts” can show up on the results, it is necessary for your medical professional to be aware of why you have the artifacts. These artifacts are predominantly related to the presence of pigments which use iron oxide or any other type of metal and appear in the immediate part of the tattoo or permanent makeup. Additionally, the technician can provide the patient a cold compress (a wet wash cloth) to utilize during the MRI procedure inside the rare case of any burning sensation within the tattooed area.
In summary, it is clear to see that the benefits of owning an MRI outweigh the slight possibility of a reaction from permanent makeup or traditional tattooing throughout the MRI. The art and science of permanent makeup goes by a lot of different names: micropigmentation, permanent cosmetics, derma pigmentation, intradermal cosmetics, dermagraphics and cosmetic tattoos. As the procedures associated with permanent makeup become more main stream the general public grows more mindful of the rewards, especially for individuals who are afflicted by illness, disease, injury or scarring. Within my recent article “Building a Bridge: Plastic Surgery and Micropigmentation” I explored your relationship between plastic surgery and permanent makeup. I would now like to discuss how permanent makeup can work as part of the solution for many different medical conditions.