Are Tattoos Visible on the Body Scanner?

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Old Dec 7, 10, 6:19 am
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Question Are Tattoos Visible on the Body Scanner?

I prefer the bodyscanner because I think it actually does a better job of protecting my medical privacy. There is no huge alarm, and the process of failing does not garner as much attention.

The one thing I am concerned about is the images themselves being identifying. Tattoos can be identifying. Are tattoos visible on the body scanner?I imagine they would be, but I am not sure.
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Old Dec 7, 10, 6:51 am
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In my estimation, they should not be visible. At least as far as the backscatter X-ray machines go, they are terrible at distinguishing objects held flush to the skin (including, ironically, explosives). For something pasted on the skin, or in this case under it, the only possibility to distinguish it from the skin itself would be if it were comprised of a high quantity of heavy elements, metals and such. The radiation that an object is bombarded with is absorbed and scattered differently to the extent that the atoms comprising it are different.
I really have no clear idea what is in each particular tattoo ink. But unless the ink is comprised of massive quantities of heavy metals (unlikely), it should not react any differently to X-ray radiation than the skin it's embedded in, thus making it "invisible"
I know less about how millimeter waves rebound off different materials, but in as much as their primary means of detection is just bouncing off a surface, I think tattoos should be invisible to them too.
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Old Dec 7, 10, 6:56 am
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Originally Posted by RedSnapper View Post
In my estimation, they should not be visible. At least as far as the backscatter X-ray machines go, they are terrible at distinguishing objects held flush to the skin (including, ironically, explosives). For something pasted on the skin, or in this case under it, the only possibility to distinguish it from the skin itself would be if it were comprised of a high quantity of heavy elements, metals and such. The radiation that an object is bombarded with is absorbed and scattered differently to the extent that the atoms comprising it are different.
I really have no clear idea what is in each particular tattoo ink. But unless the ink is comprised of massive quantities of heavy metals (unlikely), it should not react any differently to X-ray radiation than the skin it's embedded in, thus making it "invisible"
I know less about how millimeter waves rebound off different materials, but in as much as their primary means of detection is just bouncing off a surface, I think tattoos should be invisible to them too.
I have picked up nicotine patches on a body while using the WBI. You don't get much more flush to the skin than that.

Originally Posted by Comcerneddisabledflier View Post
I prefer the bodyscanner because I think it actually does a better job of protecting my medical privacy. There is no huge alarm, and the process of failing does not garner as much attention.

The one thing I am concerned about is the images themselves being identifying. Tattoos can be identifying. Are tattoos visible on the body scanner?I imagine they would be, but I am not sure.
They will not be visible in the slightest.
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Old Dec 7, 10, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by Comcerneddisabledflier View Post
I prefer the bodyscanner because I think it actually does a better job of protecting my medical privacy. There is no huge alarm, and the process of failing does not garner as much attention.

The one thing I am concerned about is the images themselves being identifying. Tattoos can be identifying. Are tattoos visible on the body scanner?I imagine they would be, but I am not sure.
No they are not.
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Old Dec 7, 10, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by unLogical View Post
I have picked up nicotine patches on a body while using the WBI. You don't get much more flush to the skin than that.



They will not be visible in the slightest.
I'd slightly update your comments to say that you recognized something that was keeping you from seeing the skin, that turned out to be a patch. Whether that's 1mm think, or 1m thick, it had a density type that prevented "seeing" the skin?
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Old Dec 7, 10, 8:18 am
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Thanks for the replies. I am thinking of getting one soon and was curious.
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Old Dec 7, 10, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by sbagdon View Post
I'd slightly update your comments to say that you recognized something that was keeping you from seeing the skin, that turned out to be a patch. Whether that's 1mm think, or 1m thick, it had a density type that prevented "seeing" the skin?
I will agree I used a poor choice of words earlier. Since you have quote me, however, it makes editing a waste of time.
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Old May 20, 18, 12:09 pm
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They can,

A traditional tattoo will not set off the alarm.

in my case I as a teenager gave myself a horrible tattoo on my ankle using a needle and some ink I bought at a department store. Now understand that my tattoo is probably half an inch deep and way more ink. But it always sets off, my uncle has the same issue with a self made tattoo.

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