MRI susceptibility artifact due to dry hair shampoo

Case contributed by Chris O'Donnell


Chronic headache. Artifact on MRI scan. Patient sent home to wash hair and returned for repeat imaging.

Patient Data

Age: 45 years
Gender: Female

Susceptibility artifact in the left anterior scalp that disappears after the hairwash.  Similar artifact associated with falcine ossification remains unchanged.

The artifact is no longer present.

Case Discussion

Dry shampoo is used to remove grease from unwashed hair and contains:

  • cornstarch: to bind fatty acids
  • kaolin: to absorb grease
  • Laminaria saccharina (type of seaweed) extract: anticlumping agent to reduce caking of the cornstarch and kaolin
  • magnesium stearate: also an anticlumping agent
  • denatured alcohol: solvent for the cornstarch and kaolin
  • liquefied petroleum gas: propellant for the spray can

The kaolin, cornstarch and magnesium may all cause artifacts due to local magnetic field distortion, most prominently seen on the echo-planar sequences, i.e. DWI and SWI.

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