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Trendy magnetic eyelashes are the latest potential hazard in the MR suite

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | July 29, 2019
MRI
Magnetic eyelashes cause artifacts
and may detach during MR scans,
says study
Magnetic eyelashes may be the perfect accessory for looking your best on a night out on the town. But in the MR room, they’re the worst thing you could wear.

That’s the consensus reached in a new study which showed that the popular cosmetic strips are prone to cause substantial artifacts and may detach during procedures.

“Our purpose was to evaluate the magnitude of the susceptibility artifacts created by magnetic eyelashes on multiple standard imaging sequences and compare these artifacts with those created by aneurysm clips, which are a common source of image distortion,” wrote authors Einat Slonimsky, a neuroradiology fellow, and Alexander Mamourian, an emeritus professor CE of radiology, at Penn State Health.

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Sales of false eyelashes have experienced a 31 percent jump since 2017 in the U.S., with magnetic eyelashes ranked as the top beauty-related Google search in 2018.

Using a phantom and two sets of randomly selected, magnetic lashes from the same manufacturer, the researchers drilled multiple, two millimeter holes in a plastic container to create the phantom, and ran monofilament through them to create a grid. The two sets were attached to single nylon strings that were placed diagonally within the phantom, which was then submerged in a container of distilled water, and covered with a layer of plastic film to prevent free movement of the lashes in the event that they detach.

A series of MR scans were then performed on a 3T scanner, producing T2-weighted images, FLAIR images, T1-weighted images, susceptibility-weighted images, DW images, T1-weighted magnetization-prepared rapid-acquisition gradient-echo images, and T2-weighted sampling perfection with application-optimized contrasts using different flip-angle evolutions.

The authors found artifacts created by magnetic eyelashes to be much larger than those created by the aneurysm clips, two of which were made of cobalt alloy and one made of titanium, using the same sequences. The largest artifact was found on susceptibility-weighted images at 7x6 centimeters, obscuring the entire phantom.

In addition, though the eyelashes stay attached to the strings during the scan, one set became detached upon removal of the phantom from the bore due to its attraction to the other set, which was still attached to the phantom. The plastic covering restrained its movement.

“Although friction and adhesion may differ from patient to patient, depending on the width and character of the native eyelashes of an individual,” Slonimsky and Mamourian wrote, “we strongly recommend inserting a line about magnetic eyelashes on the MR safety questionnaire and adding stops in the screening system to prevent the entry of anyone with these lashes, including staff, into the MR scanner room.”

The potential for more than a quarter of adverse MR events is caused by the presence of external and internal objects or devices within the scanning room. A 32-year-old man in India was tragically killed in January 2018 when he entered an MR room carrying an elderly relative’s oxygen tank and was sucked up by the MR system. Another man in 2016 was almost pulled into a machine when it detected the pistol in his jacket pocket. The man was able to slip out of his jacket before it was sucked in, and the pistol did not discharge.

The findings were published in the journal, American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

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