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What's the Deal with Deodorant and an MRI?

Can I Wear Deodorant for a Mammogram or MRI?

Let’s be honest. No one wants to go out without wearing deodorant. They are great cosmetic items that help a person feel clean and smell good, even on a horridly hot day or during strenuous exercise. Although most people follow a routine of wearing deodorant every day, one needs to make an exception on the day of a mammogram or MRI test.

Why is it a Problem to Wear Deodorant For an Imaging Exam?

In the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry, aluminum compounds are common ingredients in everyday products. Aluminum salts, which are the primary components in antiperspirants, work to inhibit perspiration. When antiperspirants are applied, the aluminum salts (metals) dissolve on your skin and clog your sweat ducts or pores. By clogging your pores, they reduce the moisture underneath your arms by 20%.

Metals are best kept away from an MRI session because the magnet in the MRI machine will pull the metal to itself while pulling it away from your body, and this interferes with the pictures that are being captured by the machine. This is the same reason why people with metal implants can not undergo an MRI test.

Similarly, women who are undergoing mammography must not wear deodorant, as the deodorant can distort the tissue images and cause areas that are perfectly normal to appear suspicious.

The dense particles of metallic substances can look like calcifications on a mammogram. Breast imaging radiologists look for calcifications, which appear as bright white specks or dots on the soft tissue background of the breasts, as they are reading exams. While calcifications can be a sign of some benign underlying process that is happening in the breast tissue, sometimes calcifications can be a sign of an early cancer developing inside a breast duct. So eliminating the deodorant eliminates the possibility that healthy tissue is mistaken on the images for something suspicious.

It’s a good idea to follow the radiologist’s advice and arrive at these important imaging tests without deodorant or antiperspirant. However, if a patient forgets, the office will provide wipes or other cleansing materials to clean the armpit area before the exam. The technologist will answer any questions about this and help the patient feel at ease about the imaging procedure.

For more information, visit Connecticut Breast Imaging’s website at https://ctbreastimaging.org or call and ask to speak to a technologist at 203.426.3002.

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