I have had MS for about a year and a half. I am told that I will most likely be getting an MRI annually. I know during the MRI I have removed my body jewelry in the past, but I was interested in getting a microdermal piercing on my chest. I have spoken to a piercer at a tattoo shop and she told me the material for the piercing is made up of surgical steel. I'm wondering since half of the piercing is set in the skin and unable to be removed would I be able to still get an MRI? I would like to get this piercing but I don't want it to interfere with the MRI, come out painfully while I'm getting the MRI, or get it and then have to get it removed.
I also have Kaiser, so I don't know if that helps. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back.
Inert/noble metals and metal alloys, non-magnetic metals should be safe to have in an MRI. Some examples include copper, silver, gold, titanium, etc. While surgical steel may be safe, it is conceivable that the radiology department will refuse to scan you because it would be very difficult to prove what exactly the metal is really made of. Such a decision would be a common conservative approach to prevent burns/thermal injury. If they did allow an MRI, there remains the possibility that the tattoo will result in artifact which could obscure the MRI image, potentially making interpretation impossible.
If future MRI surveillance is critical to monitor your disease and treatment, you may want to hold off on the tattoo. In MS care, there eventually comes a time where new disease activity is unusual and MRI is typically is not needed.
A. Scott Nielsen, MD MMSC