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Can a Tattoo React with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?


Question: Can a Tattoo React with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?
Answer: Yes, there is medical evidence that a tattoo can cause a reaction during magnetic resonance imaging (an MRI). The tattoo inks expected to cause a reaction are those containing iron oxide (some black, brown, red, flesh, yellow, orange). Not all dyes of these colors contain iron oxide. Also, some dyes of other colors may contain lesser quantities of magnetic metal.

Magnetic metals can convert the radio-frequency pulses of an MRI machine into electricity. The burning sensation that would be felt at the site of the tattoo may be a result of electricity running through the tattoo or from the 'pull' exerted on the magnetic material in the tattoo.

I am unaware of any state laws requiring a technician to warn patients of a potential interaction between a tattoo and an MRI, so if you believe you may have a tattoo containing an iron oxide pigment, you need to bring this up with your physician.

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