X-Rays, CT and Body Piercing Jewelry
Continuing my piercing blog on removing jewelry and some of the reasons behind it, I'm going to cover the effect of getting an X-Ray, CA(Cat Scan) and Body Piercing Jewelry. Over the years there have been a number of false and completely unfounded reasons given by medical professions for the reason to remove jewelry while getting an X-Ray or a CT aka Cat Scan. The reality is that there is no danger to having the jewelry in during either procedure.
However it can greatly effect the outcome of the image. Since usually metal objects show up as dark objects, if the area that they are needing to see is behind or near the jewelry, it will block it out or make it very difficult to view Unlike MRI scans that you magnetic fields to view inside the body, CAT scans and X-rays are more like a photo image, So just like when you are trying to get that great photo of your kid in a busy amusement park and people keep walking between the two of you, your jewelry will block the photo no mater what angle the images is taken at.
So, if you have a piercing in the target area of the image it is best to completely remove any metal jewelry that might get in the way. If you are concerned about losing the piercing and have some advance notice, it would be best to replace the jewelry with a nonmetallic material. Monofilament nylon and teflon can be used to keep the piercing open. Another option would be catheter tubing. Though there is a number of retainer on the market that are designed for this purpose, you might not have access to one at the time and usually if you ask, a hospital should have Tygon Medical Surgical Tubing S-50HL or S-54HL or catheter tubing on hand in the gauge that you need. Understand that medical needles and medical tubing are measured by the inner area unlike body piercing jewelry that is measured by the outside. So, 18g maybe closer to 16g and 16g maybe be closer to 14g. So it is best to ask for the next smallest gauge. You would just thread the jewelry through the piercing and then tie off both ends. It will keep the piercing open while you are getting your x-ray or scan and will not show up on the image.