Tattoos? Think before you ink.

flickr.com/photos/ bain/ 731005089

flickr.com/photos/ bain/ 731005089

As of 2012, 1 in 5 adults had a tattoo.  This is up from 14% in 2008.  Truthfully, tattoos are usually trouble-free.  But tattoos can pose health risks…

  • Unsterilized tools.
  • Contaminated ink.
  • Scarring.
  • Blood-borne diseases (HIV and hepatitis).
  • Toxins in the tattoo ink (metals, powders or other organic compounds).
  • Allergic reactions.

If you have a tattoo before getting an MRI let the radiologist know so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

Tattoos can also prevent early detection of skin cancer as the ink can camouflage changes in Asymmetry, Borders, Colors and Diameter–the ABCDs of melanoma detection.  So, do not cover up moles with tattoos.

Of note, the Food and Drug Administration regulates tattoo ink, but considers it a cosmetic and only intervenes when there are attention-getting problems.

Buyer beware.

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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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