Zillah

Do tattoos ever act as a barrier to medical care?

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^all it does is bleed

*not that I've tried; I just know better

This is a fact. One tattooer went RIGHT over a raised mole I've had forever. It would not stop bleeding, and it hurt like hell. Then I went in for the final session so he could add some dots and extra details, and I'll be damned if he didn't put a solid black dot right over that mole again. So now it has two layers of ink on it, but I haven't had any issues.

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I've had one guy blast straight over, but most have gone around moles. I haven't asked but put it down to skin cancer concerns?

As in you need to be able to see any changes in colour/size of moles to get onto it earlier, this could be an Australian thing though, with our high rates of it. Given how sun careful I am with my tattoo's this seems overkill in retrospect. But ask me again when I've had to get some cut out.

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How about a tattoo over a mole/beauty mark?

My dermatologist told me his only concern about tattoos was that they shouldn't be over a mole.

(He didn't explain why and I didn't ask since I didn't have a mole where I wanted the tattoo.)

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Maybe because it's easier to watch moles for precancerous changes when they're not covered by a tattoo. (edit: duh, @Orangutango just said the same thing)

Part of my inner arm rose went over a raised mole, pretty solid grey/black. The mole won.

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Maybe because it's easier to watch moles for precancerous changes when they're not covered by a tattoo. (edit: duh, @Orangutango just said the same thing)

I had this thought after I started my back. I'll be using SPF 2 Million, but how would you ever see a new melanoma? Rhetorical question I guess.

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There's a 'multiple hit' theory to cancer. The more hits that you have, the more likely that a tumour will develop. For example, a normal cell might become damaged and begin to mutate. The body has systems in place that deal with these mutations, but if those systems have also been damaged then the cell might be allowed to continue to mutate. The more damage that there is, the more likely that mutations will occur and will be allowed to continue. THis is why so many cancers are associated with older age, plenty of time for damage to rack up.

Some of these hits might be genetic but some are due to exposure. I suspect that one of the issues might be that having a mole is already one of the hits, it is already a cell gone mad. Further aggravating the mole by tattooing it might be another hit. I know that you shouldn't pick or pluck moles as this aggravates them, so tattooing them would really bother them.

I learned about this on a training course that showed a video of an ovary that had a tooth. A massive adult sized tooth. In an ovary. Now THAT is a cell gone mad.

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Life and Death Tattoos

Fukushi was born in 1878 and his specific field of study was nevi (moles). In 1907 his research into the study of nevi brought him into contact with many people with tattoos, discovering that he could compare the pigment movement of moles much easier by studying the pigment movements from skin that had been tattooed and subsequently discovered that penetrated skin via needles helped to stop the recurrence of syphilis on a newly tattooed area of skin, prompting a further interest in the art of tattooing. In addition to Fukushi’s medical research, he also became very interested in the art of Japanese tattooing. He began to study and catalog motifs and designs of more than 2,000 people and collected over 3,000 photographs of work. Fukushi would even help to pay for unfinished tattoos to be completed, in return for the ownership rights after death.

Cool pics from the same article:

Scan_Pic0012-256x300.jpg

Scan_Pic0015-244x300.jpg

Scan_Pic0011-300x184.jpg

TATTOO.jpg

Hehehe those last tattoos are making me giggle.

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Could be total hearsay, but I have heard that colour tattoos can be problematic when getting an MRI.

A lot of colour contains metals (i.e. I think red has nickel in it), and I guess the magnet can pull at it a little bit and cause skin reactions.

Can anyone confirm / deny this?

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I've had both CT and MRI scans, after a pretty catastrophic injury I suffered a couple of years ago, I was in ICU for two weeks and then the gen ward for several weeks after, I had no issues with skin reacting, I don't have any red colouring, but yeah...they didn't forewarn me of any possible issues, either.

I just remembered, One of my surgeons had a sleeve and he wore a skull bandana and his assistant had one with jellybeans, I got upset when they wouldn't give me one so I could match, hehe. Gotta love a flashback.

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The nurses and phlebotomists that know what they are doing never had a problem with me. Inexperienced ones, on the other hand, have a bit of difficulty. If you need to "see" the vein then you weren't properly trained. One should be able to feel for the vein and not have to see it. I have to have blood work done every 2 months due to a medication I take so these are my experiences.

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I was just denied an MRI on my hip / pelvis / back because my back piece is very large and less then 3 months old. It is a 3T machine and they said they had a problem in the past. And I was about ready to get in the machine.

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Does FDA have guidance on this, Seesea? I know we have 7T machines that a friend of mine was not permitted in the room with when the field was on because of his Titanium hip, but that is a big old hunk of conductor (they worry about eddy current heating). I've read of folks having absolutely no problems with all colors of ink, but lawyers have everyone running scared these days.

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I have what I like to call my "dead arm." Nurses have the most difficult time drawing blood, taking blood pressure or even finding my pulse in that arm. Everyone thinks they'll be the one who can do it though, and so that arm has been bruised time and time again due to "fishing." And thats on a non tattooed arm!

Echoing what others have said, I think it really depends on the skill of whoever is doing the job. Them not being able to find your vein isn't because they don't know what they're doing, its because you have tattoos! Or whatever else will shift the blame back to you and off of them.

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This may be a stupid question, but why does the newness of your backpiece make a difference?

I don't know. I mentioned that newer inks don't have the metal problem but they said they follow a researcher and there were other concerns. I recall reading a paper several months back about a different mechanism. I will try to find it and I am also going to call next week and ask for the name of the searcher, and why they think time makes a difference.

- - - Updated - - -

Does FDA have guidance on this, Seesea?

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048919.htm

FDA has not approved any tattoo pigments for injection into the skin.

...

Risks : MRI complications – People may have swelling or burning in the tattoo when they have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This happens rarely and does not last long.

...

Don't Avoid an MRI:

If you need to have an MRI done, don't avoid it. Inform the radiologist or technician that you have a tattoo so appropriate precautions can be taken.

There is no discussion of what "appropriate precautions" is. I will continue to research.

Although I have read about placing a wet towel or ice packs over the area. The MRI doc wasn't interested in that.

- - - Updated with more stuff I found - - -

Maybe the MRI doc might be referring to this research and the "MRI Diametric Particle Agitation Hypothesis" but I will call and ask. But this research doesn't have a time aspect to it.

Cosmetic Tattooing & MRI

Hypothesis: Possible Cause of Burning Sensations During MRI - Diametric Particle Agitation (MRI-DPA) (2013)

Apparently this is related to molecules that have a difference in response to the magnetic field - not necessarily that it's just ferromagnetic substances. It also includes paramagetic particles, which from my limited research and understanding of the find details: "any system that contains atoms, ions, or molecules with unpaired spins can be called a paramagnet." That's a lot more than the usual iron oxide and metal culprits.

Hypothesis: Possible Cause of Burning Sensations During MRI - Diametric Particle Agitation (MRI-DPA)

It is possible that the cause of adverse sensations and effects such as tingling and burning of tattoos during some MRI tests is perhaps due to mixtures of compounds within the tattoo pigments possessing different magnetic properties.

For example if various compounds within the tattoo pigment are ferro/ferrimagnetic and or paramagnetic (attracted by the magnetic field) and other compounds are diamagnetic (repelled by the magnetic field) then theoretically this may result in diametric agitation of the compounds within the skin and the production of heat or cellular tissue damage either due to particle friction or cellular rupture when under the influence of the strong magnetic fields of the MRI.

The rotational magnetic field created by a MRI scanner may tend to exert a magnetic pulse effect on the tattoo pigment exacerbating the frictional forces due to causing an on / off agitation of the pigment compounds caused by diametric forces on the particles in instances where the compounds contained differing magnetic properties.

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@SeeSea hope all is well, and nothing too serious requiring the MRI. Is there somewhere else you can go to have them done?

Not an immediate concern like an injury, but yeah, it is something that needs to be done.

If they don't want to do it and they tell me they follow some researcher who is into this stuff, it would probably be stupid for me to look for another radiology place to get around a possible safety issue.

i can't find anything about timing. Perhaps there is a measured decay of ink that is removed/absorbed ("MACROPHAGE - ME AGAIN!") from the area for a couple months after getting a tattoo, and they consider it a safety margin.

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If they don't want to do it and they tell me they follow some researcher who is into this stuff, it would probably be stupid for me to look for another radiology place to get around a possible safety issue.

My bad, I misunderstood the tone of your original post as the guy not wanting to do it, to cover his own ass, and using an obscure reference as an excuse.

Hope it all works out for you!

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