MRI safety when one has a tattoo or permanent makeup procedure has been a question since the infamous “Dear Abby” letter back in the 1980’s. The patient with permanent eyeliner had an MRI and felt a “warming up” or burning sensation during the MRI procedure. Is this cause of alarm, or perhaps a reason to NOT have an MRI in case you have tattoos?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging was initially discovered by Felix Block and Edward Purcell in 1946, and both were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1952. Within the late 70’s, the technique began evolving into the technology that we use for diagnosing illnesses in medicine today.

Men and women have decorated themselves for centuries by means of makeup, jewelry, clothing, and traditional and cosmetic tattooing. Procedures such as eyeliner, eyebrows, lips, eye shadow, and cheek blush are generally done in the U.S. and around the world. Other procedures referred to as “para-medical tattooing” are done on scars (camouflage) and cancer of the breast survivors who have had reconstructive surgery having a nipple “graft” that is certainly lacking in color. In this sort of paramedical work, the grafted nipple produced by the surgeon is tattooed an organic color to fit the healthy breast.

Magnetic resonance imaging is routinely performed, particularly for diagnosing head, neck and brain regions where permanent cosmetics including eyeliner are commonly applied. Because of few reports of burning sensations within the tattooed area throughout an MRI, some medical technicians have questioned whether or not they should perform MRI procedures on patients with Makeup Permanent.

Dr. Frank G. Shellock has conducted laboratory and clinical investigations in 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 those, only two individuals (1.5%) experienced problems connected 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. Based on Dr. Shellock’s research, traditional tattoos caused more problems with burning sensations in the community of the tattoo.

It is interesting to note that a lot of allergies to traditional tattoos start to occur when one is in contact with heat, such as sun exposure, or time spent in a hot steam room, or jacuzzi tub. Specific ingredients within the tattoo pigments including cadmium yellow tend to cause irritation in certain individuals. The effect is swelling and itching in a few areas of the tattoo. This usually subsides when exposure to the temperature source ends. In the event the swelling continues, then the topical fdiejg can be obtained from the physician (usually cortizone cream) to aid relieve the irritation.

Dr. Shellock recommends that anyone who has permanent makeup procedures should advise their MRI technician. Because “artifacts” can show up on the results, it is necessary for your healthcare professional to understand why you have the artifacts. These artifacts are predominantly linked to the presence of pigments designed to use iron oxide or any other kind of metal and occur 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 use throughout the MRI procedure within the rare case of a burning sensation inside the tattooed area.

In conclusion, it is clear to find out that the benefits of getting an MRI outweigh the slight chance of a reaction from permanent makeup or traditional tattooing during the MRI. The science and art of permanent makeup goes by a lot of different names: micropigmentation, permanent cosmetics, derma pigmentation, intradermal cosmetics, dermagraphics and cosmetic tattoos. Because the procedures related to permanent makeup become more main stream people grows more mindful of the benefits, particularly for individuals that are afflicted by illness, disease, injury or scarring. In my recent article “Constructing a Bridge: Cosmetic Surgery and Micropigmentation” I explored the relationship between cosmetic plastic surgery and permanent makeup. I would now prefer to discuss how permanent makeup can work within the solution for a number of health conditions.