Can a beauty product create havoc for medical imaging devices? MRI researchers say yes. An emerging beauty product is magnetic false eyelashes. In fact, magnetic eyelashes were the top beauty-related Google search last year. According to a new study published online in the American Journal of Roentgenology on July 24 shows MRI researchers are concerned about their potential effect on image quality and patient safety.
Specifically, the ferromagnetic eyelashes cause significant artifacts in phantom MR images.
What does that mean for MRI operators? It means that magnetic eyelashes should be added to the standard MRI safety checks prior to scanning. In addition, imaging staff should be warned about wearing these fashion accessories.
“The concept of unsafe MRI is a continually moving target,” wrote coauthors Drs. Einat Slonimsky and Alexander Mamourian in the department of radiology at Penn State Health. “Devices that were never scanned with MRI, like pacemakers, are now routinely imaged. However, it is important for radiologists to be aware of new devices and attachments that do not appear on the standard questionnaires but still present the risk of adverse events, rather than simply wait for these events to accumulate before acting.
It's common knowledge that it’s dangerous to bring metallic objects of any size into a scanner room. These new false eyelashes utilize tiny magnets that adhere to each other and attach false eyelashes to the wearer’s own upper lashes. The ferromagnetic composition of magnetic eyelashes would be attracted to the pull of a 1.5-tesla or 3-tesla scanner magnet. The big questions are: What are the potential adverse effects of the eyelashes on MRI images? What are the concerns about patient safety?
The doctors purchased two sets of magnetic eyelashes, attached them to single nylon strings and placed them diagonally inside a phantom. The device was then submerged into a container filled with distilled water and covered with a layer of plastic film to keep the lashes from moving. MRI scans were performed on a 3-tesla scanner with a protocol that included six different imaging sequences. The researchers also conducted the same protocol on one titanium aneurysm clip and two cobalt alloy aneurysm clips.
The doctors reported “We have shown that these magnetic eyelashes will significantly degrade clinical images but they also present a hazard to the patient.”
The doctors concluded that information about magnetic eyelashes should be added to MRI safety questionnaires to prevent anyone with these lashes (including staff) from entering the MRI scanning room.
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About the author: Vikki Harmonay