Jump to content

Do tattoos ever act as a barrier to medical care?


Zillah
 Share

Recommended Posts

As a registered nurse, I've been wondering lately how you would cannulate or take bloods from someone who had full arm coverage.

Has anyone here had difficulty when they needed to have a blood test due to the nurse finding it hard to locate a vein? Or had other experiences where medical care has been compromised due to being tattooed?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah....they feel for the vein so I really have never had anyone have a problem with taking blood!

I haven't had any other issues where my tattoos have caused any problems other than the health care workers wanting to discuss both of our tattoos every time.....and for me that really isn't a problem but I know some people do get annoyed with that!

Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a myth about not being able to have an epidural if you have a lower back tattoo. It's not true, but a lot of people who should know better seem to believe it (midwives, strangers on parenting forums, my mum...) My anaesthetist didn't even blink at my "tramp stamp". No barrier there :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got flu shots straight through tattooed areas. Nothing strange happened.

Yeah, that wouldn't be an issue because it's intramuscular- so as long as you know the location of the muscle, you can't miss.

As for feeling for the vein, that makes sense, thanks. I should mention that as a psychiatric nurse (and a new grad), I'm not trained in taking blood and probably wont be, so I'm not familiar with the process. As a patient, the nurse or phlebotomist always seems to squint at my arm! So I wondered :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

My acupuncturist has told me that they try to avoid putting needles in coloured ink, but she said that's from a total "cautious to be cautious because we actually don't know" perspective, especially because most points have parallel points elsewhere on the body so it tends not to be too hard to do. She said she thinks it's a totally baseless caution though, and she has done work on heavily tattooed clients where she really couldn't avoid putting needles through ink, and she just told the client that it's a thing the profession worries about, but no one ever cared. People just worry about liability, I think, but there tends to be no evidence at all that these things are problems.

Link to post
Share on other sites

She said she thinks it's a totally baseless caution though, and she has done work on heavily tattooed clients where she really couldn't avoid putting needles through ink, and she just told the client that it's a thing the profession worries about, but no one ever cared. People just worry about liability, I think, but there tends to be no evidence at all that these things are problems.

I completely agree. I've been getting acupuncture done on and off for the last 10 years or so, and I'm definitely in the 'can't avoid it' category. I've never had any problems.

Can I derail for a second and say how awesome my last acupuncture guy was? When I was on my first visit to his office I was looking through his portfolio in the lobby (when have you ever seen a doctor with a portfolio before) and on one page it showed pictures of a surgery being done in Japan when he was working in a hospital where one of his roles was being an anesthesiologist. This patient was getting brain surgery done while he was awake but with receptors being blocked; literally cap peeled back but fully alert and smiling as he sips some water or eats a bite of apple.

Mind blown, no pun intended.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Derail away, @irezumi ! My husband can attest to the fact that talking about the miracle of acupuncture is like one of my favourite blowhard topics, as it has done more to help with a minor chronic health condition of mine than some very expensive medication (which I no longer take) ever did. I often talk with mine about the anesthesiologist type work - totally amazing! I went in this week for a regular treatment, but I also happened to have a cold, and she put a couple of needles in under my nostrils that instantly cleared me up for hours. It's like sorcery.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree. I've been getting acupuncture done on and off for the last 10 years or so, and I'm definitely in the 'can't avoid it' category. I've never had any problems.

Can I derail for a second and say how awesome my last acupuncture guy was? When I was on my first visit to his office I was looking through his portfolio in the lobby (when have you ever seen a doctor with a portfolio before) and on one page it showed pictures of a surgery being done in Japan when he was working in a hospital where one of his roles was being an anesthesiologist. This patient was getting brain surgery done while he was awake but with receptors being blocked; literally cap peeled back but fully alert and smiling as he sips some water or eats a bite of apple.

Mind blown, no pun intended.

holyshit

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know more than a couple of tattooers who also get the same type of treatment done as me. In fact it was a fellow tattooer than turned me onto it. I developed repetitive stress syndrome (who would've thought that holding/grasping a tiny jackhammer while you make hundreds of thousands of tiny tiny circles every single day would cause a type of arthritis?) and get treatments that cover each forearm hand and wrist in needles; about 20 on each limb. Occasionally a giant one into the tippy top crown of my head. That one always feels really interesting when it gets tapped in.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to have blood drawn for an insurance policy (so they can use my sample against me if I ever have to file a claim. Insurance bastards). I got poked 3x on 4 different occassions, bunch of god damn amateurs (not nurses, just insurance lackeys "trained" to draw blood). So thanks insurance bastards for the weeks of bruising and the comment "we will review your rate in 2 years provided you change your poor lifestyle habits".

For the most part, a nurse will try once and if she can't get the vein they will default to the oldest crankiest nurse on the floor who will get it the first time. "Didn't think about that when you got the tatts eh?" is the typical surly response. Most nurses are pretty nice and can get the vein on a tattooed arm first time. But I have had a lot of amateurs poking me and then fishing around for the vein which has left me bruised, so I have a hang-up and a lot of anxiety now when drawing blood from recent negative experiences. And I usually get teased because tattoos seems to suggest I enjoy pain and needles.

But overall healthcare professionals are respectful and just curious.

- - - Updated - - -

Anybody with a lot of tattoo coverage have any MRI experiences?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know more than a couple of tattooers who also get the same type of treatment done as me. In fact it was a fellow tattooer than turned me onto it. I developed repetitive stress syndrome (who would've thought that holding/grasping a tiny jackhammer while you make hundreds of thousands of tiny tiny circles every single day would cause a type of arthritis?) and get treatments that cover each forearm hand and wrist in needles; about 20 on each limb. Occasionally a giant one into the tippy top crown of my head. That one always feels really interesting when it gets tapped in.

Is the one in the top of the head for stress? I have that one done most times, and I love it because I feel legit stoned (but super functional, just... chiiiiiiiiiiiiiill) afterwards.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As a registered nurse, I've been wondering lately how you would cannulate or take bloods from someone who had full arm coverage.

Has anyone here had difficulty when they needed to have a blood test due to the nurse finding it hard to locate a vein? Or had other experiences where medical care has been compromised due to being tattooed?

Fellow nurse here. I usually go by feel. There are certain landmarks such as the wrist or antecubital that I always go to with. If that doesn't work, I learned how to place IVs by ultrasound, which helps immensely. I haven't encountered many patients who haven't qualified for procedures or surgeries d/t tattoos, but I'm sure there could be transplant lists that may deny people who are tattooed before a certain year.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the one in the top of the head for stress? I have that one done most times, and I love it because I feel legit stoned (but super functional, just... chiiiiiiiiiiiiiill) afterwards.

I'm not sure; I just put myself in his hands and let him stick me anywhere for whatever reason & I don't ask any questions. Hah.

Yeah that one is neat; to me it's a flash where it feels like a mild electric stimulation that only takes a millisecond but I can still feel it travel from crown to toe in that instant. Wild.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to have blood drawn for an insurance policy (so they can use my sample against me if I ever have to file a claim. Insurance bastards). I got poked 3x on 4 different occassions, bunch of god damn amateurs (not nurses, just insurance lackeys "trained" to draw blood). So thanks insurance bastards for the weeks of bruising and the comment "we will review your rate in 2 years provided you change your poor lifestyle habits".

For the most part, a nurse will try once and if she can't get the vein they will default to the oldest crankiest nurse on the floor who will get it the first time. "Didn't think about that when you got the tatts eh?" is the typical surly response. Most nurses are pretty nice and can get the vein on a tattooed arm first time. But I have had a lot of amateurs poking me and then fishing around for the vein which has left me bruised, so I have a hang-up and a lot of anxiety now when drawing blood from recent negative experiences. And I usually get teased because tattoos seems to suggest I enjoy pain and needles.

But overall healthcare professionals are respectful and just curious.

- - - Updated - - -

Anybody with a lot of tattoo coverage have any MRI experiences?

I have no tattoos anywhere near the veins used to draw blood in the arm and when I joined the military, before leaving for basic I had to be poked 4 different times (twice in each arm) to get one vile of blood, and these were by LPN's and PA's. Sometimes there's more to it that has nothing to do with tattoos. Dehydration, having deep veins can both be issues. Even an RN in a hospital surgical unit has a problem putting an IV in me last month when I had surgery.

As I am going into the nursing field after college, I really want to be good at this as possible to not cause undue stress/pain on someone.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@bongsau

I've had two MRIs (torn knee ligament and the second time a neck injury).

Both times they told me I might experience a sense of warming or heat where my tattoos were. I thought I felt something but it could just have been the power of suggestion. It didn't appear to affect the MRI process at all.

The other big implication of being tattooed here is that you can't donate blood for a few months after. You're in a high risk category.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most nurses are pretty nice and can get the vein on a tattooed arm first time. But I have had a lot of amateurs poking me and then fishing around for the vein which has left me bruised, so I have a hang-up and a lot of anxiety now when drawing blood from recent negative experiences.

Fishing around? No... I hate that! It is such bad practice. They are just cutting tissue left right and centre when they do that. I had a surgeon once tell me (pre-op) he was the best ever at taking blood, then proceeded to fish around causing more pain and bruising than any other time I've had it.

On a surgical ward I had placement at as a student, the nurses would try 3x and then get someone else. I heard a lot of, "oh, you have really difficult veins". Load of bullshit.

Phlebotomists are the best, obviously. I always thought if I needed to get trained to cannulate I wanted to learn from one of them rather than another nurse. I don't need to where I work though, they have a phlebotomist come in every day to take bloods from the clients, lots of toxicity and drug levels need to be done.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I read an article a while back about a surgeon who had an appreciation of tattoos, and felt bad when he had to operate and cut a tattoo. He said that if he had the time, he would spend an extra half hour really working to line up the edges of the tattoo when he closed. I don't recall much about the article, but I got a real sense that he respected the work and wanted to honor the work and take the extra time to address the art as well as the medical procedure. Pretty cool. Makes me think that could be a consideration if it came down to two docs and you had to choose one!

Link to post
Share on other sites

@SeeSea a few years back I got the back of my head split open and when the doctor stapled me back together she said by sheer luck bringing it back together lined up my tattoo back there perfectly.

LOL - kinda like giving her a pattern to know where to put the staples! Hmmm, maybe we should get a very light tattoo of graph paper before a surgical procedure to help them line up the skin afterwards. :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fishing around? No... I hate that! It is such bad practice. They are just cutting tissue left right and centre when they do that. I had a surgeon once tell me (pre-op) he was the best ever at taking blood, then proceeded to fish around causing more pain and bruising than any other time I've had it.

On a surgical ward I had placement at as a student, the nurses would try 3x and then get someone else. I heard a lot of, "oh, you have really difficult veins". Load of bullshit.

Phlebotomists are the best, obviously. I always thought if I needed to get trained to cannulate I wanted to learn from one of them rather than another nurse. I don't need to where I work though, they have a phlebotomist come in every day to take bloods from the clients, lots of toxicity and drug levels need to be done.

Really there is no way around this. I was a phlebotomist for 11 years before becoming a nurse and I was a good one. I rarely had to call upon someone else to get something I missed, but you quite often have to "fish around" for veins. It's only in a fantasy world that every poke would go directly into it's target.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I always find it alarming when medical professionals see my tattoos before drawing blood and say "hope I'll be able to take your blood, I can't see your vein!" Did they not teach these people the process of palpation? My veins are not hard to find, as they're pretty prominent--even though my arms are covered with tattoos--but if I was someone whose veins were not are as prominent and had tattoos over my AC vein, I would be a little worried.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Really there is no way around this. I was a phlebotomist for 11 years before becoming a nurse and I was a good one. I rarely had to call upon someone else to get something I missed, but you quite often have to "fish around" for veins. It's only in a fantasy world that every poke would go directly into it's target.

Ah, ok. We were told in class never to do it, but then what you get taught in the classroom is always the most ideal situation; I've already found that what actually happens on the wards and in the units is quite different, and I think at the end of the day everyone just tries to do their best for the clients.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share




  • Posts

    • Yessir I still have a 2 bicep bands scheduled with the same tattoo artist. He says he’ll know exactly how to do it for next one because now he knows how his depth should be with my flesh especially on the inner bicep. He says we should be good no issues. what do you guys think? Should I continue - he says the tattoo would be free given the previous ones. 
    • It takes 6-8 weeks to heal. You’ll know then, regardless of how many times you ask or how you word the question. Having said that, thin delicate skin, like where you got your tattoo, is most prone to blowouts and thin lines make them the most obvious. There is nothing you can do except cover them up if it really bothers you. It’s been asked dozens of times.
    • hi guys, ive recently had 2 band tattoos done and it’s been 5 days since. first is the wrist band (3 lines) and the second is the ankle band (1 thick line between 2 thin lines) I’ve been rubbing Richie Bulldog certified hustle butter on it daily (twice a day) since taking off the plastic cover. First plastic seal was put one for 24 hours then I washed it and dried it and put another plastic seal for 48 hours. So I’ve rubbed hustle butter since Wednesday evening. my questions are: - are these major/minor blowouts? - would you continue using same tattoo artist after these blowouts? - tattoo artist is willing to fix them with same skin tone ink to camouflage it (after it is fully healed) free of charge - would you move forward with this? - how long does it take to fully heal? - if tattoo artist is willing to do a free tattoo for this inconvenience, should I consider it? ankle band: front view: Outer side view : : inner side view: Back:  
  • Last Sparrow Tattoo Sponsors

  • Topics

  • Blog Entries

×
×
  • Create New...