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Nobody wants to think about being injured or getting sick, but on the rare occasion that it happens and you need an x-ray, MRI, or cat scan, what happens with your piercing?  According to research published by the Association of Professional Piercers and other sources, here are some things that are good to know:

1. Metal body jewelry shows up on x-rays as an opaque shape.

This is actually pretty neat to look at.  Most of the time the jewelry appears very light or white in color and can be easily identified on the x-ray image.

2. Most types of body jewelry can potentially interfere with CT (cat scan) imaging.

CT imaging is produced by radiation and conductive material like stainless steel can cause strange blotching on the images. Be prepared, because you’ll likely be asked to remove your body jewelry.

3. MRI machines use magnetism, so jewelry may have to be removed or replaced.

Depending on the size of metallic jewelry items, not only can MRI over a pierced area of the body be uncomfortable, but it can also result in a negative effect on images.  Some professionals will require jewelry to be removed completely, but in other cases a non-metallic retainer like bioplast or acrylic is acceptable, so it’s always a good idea to ask ahead.

4. If jewelry is removed from a piercing, the hole can close up pretty rapidly.

The time frame that a piercing takes to start closing up will be different from person to person and depend on a variety of factors, so it’s good to talk to someone before removing jewelry for imaging and find out your options.

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