Can You Get an MRI With a Tattoo? Is It Safe? What You Need To Know

Written by: Pete
Updated:

According to Statistica, in 2021, 36% of Americans recorded that they had at least one tattoo. With numbers so high and with the popularity of tattoos growing day by day, it’s normal to have concerns about how this may impact your life down the line. This also can include concerns surrounding medical procedures, such as MRI scans.

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Getting an MRI With a Tattoo

A tattoo is essentially a medical procedure, and with all medical procedures, there could be impacts on other aspects of your life due to your ink. An MRI is Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and with the presence of metals in so many cheap inks, the concern for this procedure is logical.

The good news is that most people with tattoos have MRIs without any issues or complications, and research studies released show only a small sample recorded having adverse reactions to the MRI procedure.

These reactions included:

  • Slight pulling sensation on the tattooed skin
  • Absorption of energy in the tattooed skin, increasing burn risk
  • The tingling sensation on the skin

Does This Mean Getting an MRI is Unsafe?

In general, no, it’s not unsafe to get an MRI if you have a tattoo. With significantly older tattoos, your body has generally filtered out any traces of metal, and with newer tattoos, you’re likely using more modern and high-quality ink.

National Health Services also states that while some tattoo inks can contain metal traces and emphasize the danger of metal traces for MRI scans, most tattooed skin is safe. You should always tell a medical professional if your MRI scan makes your skin feel uncomfortable.

How Do I Ensure a Safe MRI Scan With Tattoos?

  • Research - This refers to not only researching the quality and certifications of your tattoo shop but also asking your artist what ink they use. Do your due diligence and research into what ingredients are in the tattoo ink, or message the manufacturer and ask them, yourself.
  • Be Transparent With Your Medical Professional - Whether discussing with your radiologist, technologist, or specialist, inform them about your tattoos and any concerns you may have about the MRI scan. They’ll monitor for any reactions during the scan.

Our Final Thoughts

It’s only in very rare cases that tattooed skin has had reactions to MRI scans, so, in general, you don’t have to worry! It’s important to ask your artist about the ingredients of the ink they are using and to be transparent with all medical professionals about not only your tattoos but about any fears you may have, as well.

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