Can you get an MRI scan if you have a tattoo?

 

Tattoos can be a safety risk that can hinder an MRI scan depending on the ingredients in the tattoo ink, and can result in burns if an MRI is obtained.

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a special x-ray that is used to locate tumors or other abnormalities within the body.  The MRI machine uses radio frequency waves to make protons in the body’s cells react.

There are currently no  FDA-approved tattoo inks.  Some colors may be more dangerous than others for causing harm by an MRI.  Red tattoo ink for example is more magnetic and can result in safety issues if an MRI is obtained.  The red dye can contain iron which can conduct electricity and can result in burns if an MRI is obtained.
In addition, if a tattoo is in the shape of a loop, it can act like an antenna, conducting heat and resulting in a burn.

Permanent makeup, which is tattooing around the eyes, is of particular concern and can result in burns, as can permanent eyebrow and lip liner tattoo.

If your doctor is planning on ordering an MRI, be sure to inform the technician if you have a tattoo or permanent makeup.

 

MRI burn from a tattoo:

MRI burn.jpeg

 

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