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#1 Justa

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 04:41 PM

I decided to post this one after reading something on the Tattoo thread. There is a recent Urban Legend going around that says that if you have a tattoo, that it is unsafe for you to have an MRI. Why is this? Supposedly the metal that the ink contains will rrrrrrrrip right out of your flesh when they place you in the MRI machine.

For those who don't know, MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is basically an x ray where they can see through your body layer by layer, but instead of flooding you with X-rays, they use a very powerful magnet.

So, is it true about the metal in your ink being dangerous? It depends on who you believe. However, the ink in question is the ink that they used over 20 years ago, which did, at the time, have a high metal content. Most modern day inks do not contain the levels of metal that they used to.

What does common sense tell you?

An MRI is a very sophistocated test, and something that doctors rely heavily on for certain conditions. Could you imagine how useless they would be, if every person who had a Tattoo could not have an MRI? Especially with the increase in the number of pers who get tattoos, and if you think about it, a lot of the Extreme Sports enthusiasts have them, and they are more likely to need an MRI than most other people due to their sports injuries.

Myth Busters did an episode on this, where they used standard tattoo ink on a pig skin, and ran it through the MRI. Nothing happened. So they made their own concoction of ink with a high metal content, and repeated the test. Again, nothing happened.

However, some people who have tattoos and have gone in for an MRI, esp with the older ink, have complained of a burning sensation where their tattoos are. What do you think? Is the pain real, or is the pain something that they believe to be real because of the Urban Legend?

So what will a tattoo do to your MRI? Well, it's safe to say that your skin won't be torn asunder by the metal fragments rapidly exploding forth from your flesh. However, the tattoo may prevent the MRI from actually being able to penetrate the area under the tattoo, thust preventing the doctor from seeing what's going on.
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#2 Vivienne_DuBois

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 05:07 PM

Nice topic, Justa. I was wondering about this, myself, while reading the Tattoos thread. It will be nice to hear everyone's thoughts/experiences on this.

Since I haven't any tattoos, I cannot say for sure. Frankly, common-sense tells me that tattoos and MRI's must go together in some workable form or else MRI's, like you mentioned, would become a thing of the past with so many people now sporting tattoos.

I can believe people who have tattoos might experience some mild discomfort in the area of the tattoo after an MRI. But, nothing life-threatening and nothing that will tear one's skin off. Perhaps, tattoos could cause some sort of mis-reading for the MRI in the area of the tattoo, as well, because of the nature of tattoo ink and the nature of an MRI.

I just don't know what to think. But, it certainly can't be as gruesome as some people say. :whoohoo:

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#3 rie

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 05:27 PM

I have tattoos and I have had MRIs. Nothing happens. My oldest tattoo is 12 years old. I have had close to 8 MRIs.
rie

#4 spelling

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 08:58 PM

i thought that the reason why you need to let the tech know is because certain types/colors of inks reflect the MRI differently. i asked before having a series as to why and that's what they told me. i was told that it also has to do with how old the tattoo is. during certain time frames ink was changed a little to possibly improve appearance durability, etc. if you notice WWI/WWII tattoos and from asian countries at that time , now they appear to "smear" or spred more. it really is because of the reflective properties, as far as the MRI though.

#5 Justa

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 04:38 PM

I can just picture somebody going into the machine with a tattoo on their tummy and reliving the scene from alien :D
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#6 freyjasdottir

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 08:01 PM

Bad Visual, very bad visual *runs away screaming*
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#7 Yosei

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 11:59 AM

This one was even reported in my local newspaper as a fact. Glad to know I needn't worry about it!
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#8 honeybeary

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 12:17 PM

I know this is an old thread but it was interesting and I wanted to make a reply....my husband recently had an MRI and has 2 tattoos and he says he didn't have any discomfort in the area of his tattoos.
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#9 RON3002

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 07:57 AM

I asked my tattoo artist,and he said alot of the myth has to do with in the early days of tattoo needles.u had to solder the point on,which when used to give tattoos sometimes left flakes of the metal in the skin
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#10 Willow

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 02:23 PM

Which makes me thank god for new and improved technology.
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#11 Laurie Ann

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 03:09 PM

Which makes me thank god for new and improved technology.



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#12 LadyWolf

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:01 AM

I would be a human coloring book if I could afford it, but I can't. But I can tell you that I have had many MRI's without a problem.

But.......they always ask and I always tell and they always look at them. But again I've never had a problem.
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#13 saralove_23

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 07:35 PM

Hi everyone, I don't know if any of you remember me, but I use to come on here all the time a few years ago. Anyways I really don't think that ink or even old ink could do that. If you think about it human blood contains iron(heavy metal) and if that was the case then every time we had MRI, (tattoo or not) it would happen :clap: . I am no doctor but that's just my opinion. :clap:

#14 ravenhecate

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 07:52 AM

I have several tattoos, and have had MRI's but can't remember if I had my last MRI before my first tattoo. Anyway, the only problem I had with the MRI is that I found I was allergic to the dye they injected for contrast, and broke out in large, egg-sized welts on scalp. Not fun!!!
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