By Jane Adler
On March 25, 2001 I had the opportunity to sit in on a lecture by Dr. Frank Shellock at the 10th annual SPCP convention in Las Vegas. What a treat!
Dr. Frank Shellock was a very animated, energetic, dynamic and entertaining speaker. Besides being the author of many books, peer-reviewed scientific articles, and hosting a web site: http://www.MRIsafety.com
, Dr. Shellock is a leading expert on MRI's and how they relate to tattooing.
Dr. Shellock is a physiologist with more than 15 years of experience conducting laboratory and clinical investigations the field of magnetic resonance imaging. He is also a clinical Professor of Radiology at the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. His list of credits are something to be very proud of.
Magnetic resonance imaging began its origins in the 1950's. Actual imaging started to evolve in the 1970's. In the 1980's the public was starting to have access to this diagnostic equipment at various medical center around the World.
Dr. Shellock spoke about whole-body MR systems, Dedicated Extremity Systems, and Interventional MRI Systems. They have different purposes from general diagnostic imaging procedures to monitoring and guiding surgical interventions. In general, MRI examinations tend to be are more sensitive than X-rays, CT scans ,and ultra sound.
Dr. Shellock shared many funny stories and myths about MRI's. He told a true story of a custodial worker accidentally placing a floor buffer into an MRI imaging machine. OOPS! The magnetic imaging is so strong it became airborne, not to mention cost over $200,000.00 to repair.
He made it very clear that all imaging centers must ask specific question like, "Do you have a tattoo or permanent makeup, pacemaker, any known foreign bodies or are you pregnant?
With regard to permanent cosmetics, if getting an MRI there is a chance that the patient may experience transient redness and /or a slight heating sensation of tattooed area. He made it clear that he and others think that the FDA is over cautious in their concerns over adverse affects of MRI's and tattoos.
There is no reason not to do an MRI when a patient has a tattoo on the face or body.
There have been less than 10 reported cases of a heating sensation or any adverse reaction to having an MRI with regard to permanent cosmetics. The importance of this diagnostic tool is far more important then being concerned about any contradictions with cosmetic tattooing.
Areas of concern should be with aneurysm clips, pacemakers, or electronic implants not "iron oxide" pigments. There are some pigments that contain a magnetic compound. For the most part any magnetic compound is removed (?)during the synthetic process to make pigments. Most pigment become non ferrous during the process to make them into a pigment to be used for cosmetic tattooing. Just because a trace metal could be present , does not present a problem with MRI's. If a client is concerned about his or her eyes, a cool compress can be placed over there eyes during the MRI.
Unfortunately, the level of ignorance and blame may remain an issue. A lot of this stems from the infamous "Dear Abby" letter written in the 80;s warning clients not to have permanent makeup if planning on having an MRI. There are still some radiologists that will not allow a patient to undergo MRI that has a cosmetic tattoo. If this ever happens to you , please have the doctor or client contact Dr. Shellock at: [email protected]
or visit his web site, www.MRIsafety.com
In conclusion, any problem performing a MRI procedure for a patient that has a tattoo is unlikely to prevent the examination, since the imaging is usually critical to the care of the client. It is safe to tell clients that they can have an MR when they have permanent makeup. To date, there have been known reactions in the lip or brow area.
My name is Karin Downes. I am the owner of Karin's Korner in Waterford Michigan. I have been practicing Electrolysis for 22 years, wow, that sounds like forever. I have also been happily practicing Permanent Cosmetics for the past five years. Absolutely loving every minute of it. I use mostly the SofTap® method and think it's just wonderful!
My whole face has been done using the SofTap® pigments.
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumor. I was sent to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for five days of Fractionated Stereotactic Radiosurgery treatments to kill my tumor. Because of this condition, I am required to have MRI'S every six months for the first two years and every year after that for the rest of my life. I have already had four. So needless to say I consider my experience with permanent cosmetics and MRI'S to be pretty extensive.
I can tell you, for absolute fact, I have never had so much as the slightest reaction in any area due to heating of the tissue during an MR procedure. I would never stop using iron oxide pigments because of supposedly the very rare occurence of possible chance of a heating up of the epidermal tissue. I have had MRI'S with my permanent Cosmetics in various staging of healing also. So it doesn't matter if the procedure is new or old. It still has never reacted.
I believe that there is about as much chance of this happening as there is as being hit by lightening. That wouldn't keep me from going outside, just as the MRI scare won't keep me from using iron oxide pigment either. I think we all need to draw our own opinions on this matter, but it is also important to have the facts.
I am going in for my next MRI this month. I'll keep you all posted!