Magnetic resonance imaging and permanent cosmetics (tattoos): survey of complications and adverse events

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2002 Feb;15(2):180-4. doi: 10.1002/jmri.10049.


Purpose: To use a survey to determine the incidence of complications and adverse events in individuals with permanent cosmetics (e.g., tattooed eyeliner, eyebrows, lips, cheeks, etc.) who underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.

Materials and methods: A questionnaire was distributed to clients of cosmetic tattoo technicians. This survey asked study subjects for demographic data, information about their tattoos, and for their experiences during MR imaging procedures.

Results: Data obtained from 1032 surveys were tabulated. One hundred thirty-five (13.1%) study subjects underwent MR imaging after having permanent cosmetics applied. Of these, only two individuals (1.5%) experienced problems associated with MR imaging. One subject reported a sensation of "slight tingling" and the other subject reported a sensation of "burning"; both sensations were transient in nature.

Conclusion: Based on these findings and information in the peer-reviewed literature, it appears that MR imaging may be performed in patients with permanent cosmetics without any serious soft tissue reactions or adverse events. Therefore, the presence of permanent cosmetics should not prevent a patient from undergoing MR imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tattooing / adverse effects*