Medical Complications of Tattoos

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Overview of Medical Complications of Tattoos
Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) and Tattoos
Medical Complications of Tattoos
Scleroderma Tattoo Reactions
Reporting Problems to FDA

Overview of Medical Complications of Tattoos

Potential complications of tattoos include infections, allergic reactions, and skin diseases. Possible infections include hepatitis, herpes, HIV (which causes AIDS), rubella, shingles, syphilis, tetanus, tuberculosis cutis, and shingles. Skin eruptions may occur, such as cutaneous lupus, erythema multiforme, keloids, lichen planus, and psoriasis. Sometimes skin cancer also develops in tattoos. (Also see What is Scleroderma? and Social Considerations of Tattoos)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Tattoos

Tattoos, Permanent Cosmetics, and Eye Makeup. Many radiologists have refused to perform examinations on individuals with permanent cosmetics, particularly tattooed eyeliner. This undue concern for possible adverse events prevents patients with cosmetic tattoos access to an important diagnostic imaging technique.

(PDF) Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Permanent Cosmetics (Tattoos): Survey of Complications and Adverse Events. Based on these findings and information in the peer-reviewed literature, it appears that MR imaging may be performed in patients with permanent cosmetics without any serious soft tissue reactions or adverse events. Therefore, the presence of permanent cosmetics should not prevent a patient from undergoing MR imaging. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Medical Complication of Tattoos

Tattoos and Permanent Makeup. Many pigments used in tattoo inks are not approved for skin contact at all. Some are industrial grade colors that are suitable for printers' ink or automobile paint. The primary complications that can result from tattooing include infection, removal problems, allergic reactions, granulomas, keloid formation, and MRI complications. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Also see Keloid Morphea Scleroderma)

Tattoos: Understand risks and precautions. You could be the proud owner of a new tattoo in a matter of hours — but don't let the ease of getting tattoos stop you from making a thoughtful decision about permanent body art. Risks include bloodborne diseases. If the equipment used to create your tattoo is contaminated with infected blood, you can contract various bloodborne diseases, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tetanus and HIV — the virus that causes AIDS. Mayo Clinic.

Tattoo Reactions. The introduction of foreign substances into the skin can result in a toxic or immunologic response. In addition to the transmission of infectious disease, reactions to tattoo pigments have also been described. These reactions include acute inflammatory reaction; allergic hypersensitivity; and granulomatous, lichenoid, and pseudolymphomatous types of histopathologic reactions. Localization of skin disease in tattoos has also been documented. emedicine.

Cutaneous complications related to permanent decorative tattooing. Complications primarily include infections, hypersensitivity reaction to tattoo pigments, benign and sometimes malignant tumors arising on tattoos, and the localization of various dermatoses to tattoos. Expert Rev Clin Immunol, 2010 May;6(3):363-71.

The complications of dermal tattooing. Some of the reported complications from tattooing include pyogenic infections, viral hepatitis, syphilis, tuberculosis cutis, rubella, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, psoriasis, lichen planus, lupus, pigment allergy and sensitivity, keloids, sarcoidal granulomas, erythema multiforme, malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Most complications can be avoided by utilizing proper aseptic technique and avoiding exotic pigments.

Tattoo-associated dermatoses: a case report and review of the literature. Three main classes of tattoo-associated dermopathies can be distinguished in the English literature: allergic/granulomatous/lichenoid, inoculation/infection, and coincidental lesions. Injury to the dermis, such as during placement of a tattoo, can also flare a Koebner response in patients with active susceptible disease. Dermatol Surg., PubMed.

Scleroderma Tattoo Reactions

Morphea is a form of localized scleroderma. It causes colored patches of hardened skin, anywhere on the body. (Also see Morphea Scleroderma)

Dermal sclerosis is an unusual reaction that may occur in the red parts of tattoos, complicating a chronic/persistent inflammatory reaction to pigments/dyes.

Morphea-like tattoo reaction. We report an unusual tattoo reaction that mimicked morphea histologically. Am J Dermatopathol., PubMed.

Reporting Problems to the FDA

Your Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA. If you have had a bad reaction to a tattoo, permanent make-up, or temporary tattoo you can report the reaction to the FDA. Hopefully the more calls and e-mails the FDA receives the more attention and resources they will put toward regulating this industry and answering these questions. FDA.

Go to Social Considerations of Tattoos

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