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Can You Wear Plastic Piercings During an MRI?

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While plastic piercings aren’t recommended because they can trap bacteria, in a pinch you can wear them in an MRI. Plastic retainers have small holes in them, which houses bacteria and can lead to an infection. However, you simply can not leave your regular jewelry in if you need an MRI. Removing your jewelry for that length of time can lead to your piercings shrinking or even closing up entirely. Glass retainers are a safe alternative to plastic that can also be worn in an MRI.

Why Can’t You Wear Piercings in an MRI?

A number of bad things can happen if you leave metal in an MRI. It could impact the results of the MRI. Some metals create a magnetic field which can scatter the image surrounding them, which could obviously cause something important to be missed. If your piercing is made of magnetic materials, it could even be ripped through your skin, which would obviously be incredibly painful, ruin your MRI, and you’d lose your piercing. Another potential issue with wearing metal in an MRI is the metal could heat up and cause burns.

Is Surgical Steel Safe For MRIs?

Regular surgical steel is not regulated enough to be safe for MRIs. This means that the metal making up your surgical steel jewelry may be slightly different than other surgical steel jewelry legally. Some of it may be safe and some is not safe and there would be no way to know without testing your individual jewelry.

Implant grade surgical steel is highly regulated and is safe for MRIs, meaning it won’t be ripped from your skin or cause burns, but it may still interfere with how your MRI turns out. Your doctor will likely request that you remove your metal jewelry, no matter what it’s made of.

Glass Piercing Retainers for MRIs

Glass is one of the few non-metal materials that can be worn safely for an extended period of time. It is so safe you could even wear it permanently if you needed to. Glass has no reactions with MRIs, so your image will come out clear and it will not hurt you. If you know ahead of time that you need an MRI, you can visit your piercer and they will swap out all of your jewelry to glass retainers for a small fee.

Removing a Piercing for MRI

If you remove your jewelry for an MRI, it has the potential to shrink or close up. Some piercings can never be removed, such as the triangle piercing. A new, still healing piercing will likely at least shrink a small amount. Very old piercings will likely be fine, but whenever you remove your piercing you should keep in mind that you may lose your piercing and need to retire it. If you aren’t prepared to potentially lose your piercing, you should swap them into glass retainers.


If you need an MRI, your doctor will ask you to remove all metal, including all of your jewelry. Metal jewelry can be ripped out of your body, heat up and cause burns, and warp the image from your MRI. To avoid your piercing closing up or shrinking, you’ll need to swap into a non-metal retainer. Plastic is an okay choice in a pinch, but plastic actually houses bacteria which can cause an infection. The best option if you have the time is a glass retainer, which can safely be left in for a long time.