Tattoo’s And MRI’s Don’t Mix

August 23, 2008 at 2:42 pm (tattoo) (, , , , , , , , )

This surprised the heck out of me when I read this article. It is claiming that people who have tattoos more so black ink tattoos need to take some extra precaution when getting an MRI done. I’m pretty sure we all know that an MRI is a diagnostic test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves that creates a very informed cross-sectional image of your body. Well it has been reported that people are experiencing burns in tattooed areas more so in black ink or darker tattoos. However, it is unknown how often this strange occurrence happens.

Some research has been done on this matter and the only thing that has been determined is that they suspect the burns are related to iron oxide. Apparently, dark ink tattoos have iron oxide in them which is potentially magnetic.  Since it conducts electricity this causes the iron oxide to heat up during an MRI and causes some burns to occur.

So if you are scheduled for an MRI and you have black or dark ink tattoos be sure to tell you doctor about this and discuss any concerns you may have. More than likely you will be just fine and the benefit from the MRI will probably outweigh the concerns you have for your tattoos. To reduce the possibility of your tattoo burning your doctor may suggest to put an ice pack or cool compresses over your tattoo during the actually MRI to be safe.

So it just goes to show that your body art can cause more problems that you are aware of.

Your Tattoo Friend


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  1. LALA said,

    This is only true for tattoos with a high level of iron, usually only found in prison tattoos and amateur tattoos. While the ink used in professional tattoos still contain iron, they don’t contain enough where it would be affected by an MRI machine.

  2. nonTT - Man coughs up nail that was stuck in his nose for 30 years said,

    […] during an MRI because of the iron oxide content in them (iron being potentially magnetic). Here is an article on that. Here is info on the magnetic issues with MRIs and why they tell you no […]

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