It usually does not occur to women with hair extensions that certain procedures may be negatively impacted by the extensions. One thing we have come across time and time again at New Image hair extension salon in Manchester is problems during MRI scans. We felt it best to warn you, as we would like to save you the trouble of last minute cancellations or delays with important examinations.
The fact is that you are unlikely to be able to have your MRI scan if you’re wearing hair extensions with micro rings; although if you have fusion bonds, you should be fine – those don’t contain metal. Let’s take a look at why it’s important to remove micro or nano ring hair extensions before an MRI scan.
MRI equipment emanates a strong magnetic field
Generally, Doctors find it difficult to image anatomy that has any kind of metallic implant or object in close proximity. You should make sure to inform the nurses or Doctors well ahead of your appointment, in case they do allow you to keep the hair extensions in. However, most are unlikely to allow this, as the MRI emanates a strong magnetic field that may pull the extensions out of your hair.
Even if your micro rings are made of a metal that isn’t attracted to the magnetic field, it is still the case that non-ferromagnetic metals interact with it (this is known as ferromagnetic pull). The rings can cause distortions in the imaging results, rendering your MRI scan inconclusive. They may also become heated, which won’t be comfortable and is possibly even dangerous.
Foreign objects that interference with MRI scans are known as artifacts. In the images they may be confused with some kind of pathology (resulting in misdiagnosis). At the very least, they may reduce the quality of the examination. For these reasons, it is crucial to disclose the fact that you have hair extensions to your health care provider.
What are micro rings made from?
Hair extension micro rings are usually made from a variety of different types of metal, from alloys to copper. The alloys or copper may also contain nickel, and the copper can blend with the nickel to create a metal called cupronickel.
Nano rings, which are just like micro rings but much smaller, tend to be made from copper. The same rules apply to nano ring hair extensions during MRI scans. Since most hair extension rings contain metal of some kind, they will be problematic and may result in your scan being cancelled or disrupted.
Which other metals should be removed or disclosed before an MRI scan?
If you have body piercings, wigs, or weaves, these will need to be removed. It is even possible for your tattoo pigments to interfere with MRI scan quality, so before your scan, be sure to inform your radiologist or Doctor if you have tattoos, and where they are located. Tattoos can get quite warm during a scan too. The same goes for permanent makeup – even eye shadow and coloured contact lenses can be problematic.
Any metal implants in the body, including fillings, braces, dentures or hearing aids should be mentioned. If you’re wearing an IUD (coil), you will also need to disclose this. Take off any metal jewelry or items of clothing containing zips, metal buttons etc. You’re likely to be given a hospital gown anyway.
The exception is that you may be allowed to wear rings made from gold, platinum, silver or any blends of those metals, since they don’t react to the magnetic field. In case you’re wondering, here’s what it is like to have an MRI scan.
Removing your extensions before an MRI scan
We recommend that if you’re having an MRI scan in the near future, you book an appointment to come and see us at our Manchester hair extension salon first. We’ll remove the hair extensions for you, and reinstall them afterwards. We don’t recommend trying to do it yourself, as it can be tricky and you may damage your hair – or the extensions.
However, if you do know what you are doing or have a friend that does, you can remove the hair extensions before your MRI scan yourself – provided you use the correct tools. Small pliers can open the micro or nano rings so that they can be slid off your natural hair. If you do decide to remove your micro rings yourself, make sure you book in with us for a re-installation in advance, as we can get quite busy. We wouldn’t want to keep you waiting!
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