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Scars over tattoos, what happens?


OutOfIdeas
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Haven't been around for a while as I don't have regular Internet access, but I had a quick question...

I've heard and read tons of info on tattooing over scars, and the results of. My question is sort of the opposite.

I'm hoping to do a full chest piece over the next month or two, and I'm quite excited for it. My only concern is that at some point in the next 5 years or so, I will be having heart surgery, replacing the valves due to a lifelong condition.

When they do the surgery, chances are (as I understand it) very low that it will be an open heart surgery similar to the one I had as a child, but if that did happen what effect would it have on the tattoo? I realize it will mess it up considerably, but does anyone know if it would leave fresh, skin toned scar tissue that could eventually be touched up, or will it just be a jumbled mess of ink? Does anyone have experience with scarring over tattoos, either by surgery or accident or anything? I've never heard anything about it, but I'm certainly not the most educated tattoo wise, being from a small redneck town...

I realize the best possible idea would be to wait until after the surgery, but the chances of having open heart as opposed to the surgery done by camera (laparoscopic?) is very low, and I'm mostly just asking out of curiosity rather than concern...

Thanks for any and all input/advice

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Don't have any experience myself but I've seen some minor scars over tattoos that have basically just looked like skin since the cut went deeper than the tattoo. Brutal you've gotta have surgery, man. You could always wait on the chest..? My father-in-law had heart surgery last year and his scar is pretty thick. I also don't think a scar on a tattoo would necessarily make it look bad. Just another part of your life, right? Good luck though man, keep us posted on everything. Hope it goes well.

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I've seen a before and after picture of something similar to that. I think it really boils down to your doctor and how concerned he/she might or might not be with lining up the original art.

Type of art (at least in my eyes) might have a bearing in it, too. A scar through a cool traditional american piece would be much easier for me to absorb than the same interrupting a very photorealistic piece.

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Maybe you could talk to your doctor or find pictures of where the scar usually falls, then work with your tattoo artist to plan the design so that it will be easily hidden? For example if its usually a vertical scar maybe there are vertical elements to the design there that could help minimize the impact the scar will have on it, if you do eventually have the surgery.

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I have a full chest piece that got cut through because of an open heart operation and the most common question I get is “was it done before or after the surgery to cover the scar?” My response is “It was just good forethought”, my heart problem came as a surprise. Super glad I did it because after the surgery I don’t want another sharp object within a mile of my chest. I had a rock star surgeon take me apart and put me back together, with attention paid to lining the ink back up correctly, now there is an obvious quarter inch incision with hard scar tissue, but the tattoo looks fine.

My advice is get your full chest done now, but just be sparring with the detail on the center line where you will be cut, tell the artist, they might dig the idea and design something that will look better with the scar through it. Do you have an existing scar? Like you said in 5 years valve replacement can likely be done without the need to crack the chest, but don’t count on that. As for tattooing the scar, f-that it cost about $250,000 ill be keeping mine and I bet it would be years before the scar is adged enough for a cover.

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