Tattoos and lymphedema

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Tattoos and lymphedema

Postby patoco » Sun Jun 11, 2006 8:58 pm

Tattoos and lymphedema

Lymphedema People


Original Post

ok i want to know about getting a tattoo on a swollen limb would that be bad for the lymphedema in my leg/foot, if i got something on my foot or ankle? also, would it be bad to get it else where even i'm not swollen it that spot?




Hey Morgan

My greatest concern regarding tattoos is that it is technically an "invasive" procedure.

As such, it really does put you at a significant high risk for infections.

This is true also, even if it is placed in an area that does not have lymphedema. Bacteria travels through your system and can eventually wind up in your swollen limb.

The limb is first of all immunocompromised, which, which means it can not mount an adequate defense against the bacteria and the bacteria will thrive in the protein rich invironment containing lymphorrhea (the fluid in our lymphedema limbs).

Along that line, when skin on a lymphedema limb is broken, you run the risk of having a "weepage" of lymphorrhea. The lymphorrhea is very caustic to surrounding skin tissue and usually these wounds require treatment with a compression type bandage to help stop the leakage.

See our article Lymphedema Lymphorrhea for more info on this: ... orrhea.htm

I would also express concern regarding some of the complications listed below from the FDA article. Lymphedema patients are also at a higher risk for granulomas and keloids simply because of the skin texture that can go with lymphedema.

Whew...finally there is also concern over the dyes and the chemistry of indgrediens used in tatoos and how the limb will react to these.

So all in all, if it were me, I wouldn't do it as there is just too much potential for harm and for complications.

Hope this helps



What Risks Are Involved in Tattooing?

The following are the primary complications that can result from tattooing:

Infection. Unsterile tattooing equipment and needles can transmit infectious diseases,such as hepatitis. The risk of infection is the reason the American Association of Blood Banks requires a one-year wait between getting a tattoo and donating blood.

It is extremely important to make sure that all tattooing equipment is clean and sterilized before use. Even if the needles are sterilized or never have been used, it is important to understand that in some cases the equipment that holds the needles cannot be sterilized reliably due to its design. In addition, the person who receives a tattoo must be sure to care for the tattooed area properly during the first week or so after the pigments are injected.

Removal problems. Despite advances in laser technology, removing a tattoo is a painstaking process, usually involving several treatments and considerable expense. Complete removal without scarring may be impossible. See "The Most Common Problem: Dissatisfaction" and "Removal Techniques," below.

Allergic reactions.Although allergic reactions to tattoo pigments are rare, when they happen they may be particularly troublesome because the pigments can be hard to remove. Occasionally, people may develop an allergic reaction to tattoos they have had for years.

Granulomas.These are nodules that may form around material that the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment.

Keloid formation. If you are prone to developing keloids -- scars that grow beyond normal boundaries -- you are at risk of keloid formation from a tattoo. Keloids may form any time you injure or traumatize your skin, and according to Office of Cosmetics and Colors (OCAC) dermatologist Ella Toombs, M.D., tattooing or micropigmentation is a form of trauma. Micropigmentation: State of the Art, a book written by Charles Zwerling, M.D., Annette Walker, R.N., and Norman Goldstein, M.D., states that keloids occur more frequently as a consequence of tattoo removal.

MRI complications. There have been reports of people with tattoos or permanent makeup who experienced swelling or burning in the affected areas when they underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This seems to occur only rarely and apparently without lasting effects.

There also have been reports of tattoo pigments interfering with the quality of the image. This seems to occur mainly when a person with permanent eyeliner undergoes MRI of the eyes. Mascara may produce a similar effect. The difference is that mascara is easily removable.

The cause of these complications is uncertain. Some have theorized that they result from an interaction with the metallic components of some pigments.

However, the risks of avoiding an MRI when your doctor has recommended one are likely to be much greater than the risks of complications from an interaction between the MRI and tattoo or permanent makeup. Instead of avoiding an MRI, individuals who have tattoos or permanent makeup should inform the radiologist or technician of this fact in order to take appropriate precautions, avoid complications, and assure the best results.


Tatoo you ? ... i_n9472366


Health Risks Warning On Body Art Dyes ... y-art.html


Tattoo pigment in sentinel lymph nodes: A mimicker of metastatic malignant melanoma

Shylashree Chikkamuniyappa1, MD, Rolf Sjuve-Scott1, MD, PhD, Kris Lancaster-Weiss2, MD, Alexander Miller3, MD and I-Tien Yeh1, MD
Dermatology Online Journal 11 (1): 14 ... o/yeh.html


Lymph Node Pigmentation


Hey Morgan

Listen to pat please

I will not allow then to come near mt lymph limbs with
a needle at the hospital so thousands of tiny holes for tatts
no way

i had weeping odema it is gross and cellulitis is terrible
where the fluid leaks onto you skin it corodes the the skin
making it grey hard and wrinkled like elephant skin
which is what would happen to you lovely tatts

waste of money hun

hugggggggg silks xxxxxxxxxx
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Postby fairiecleavage » Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:03 pm

so in all honesty, to all... tattooing anythiing on the body even if there is no lymph problems in the area, is a bad idea!?
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Postby PamelaS » Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:26 pm

I would have to, in all honesty, steer you far away from any thoughts of tattoos. It was my radiation oncologist who was adamantly against people who had lymph node removal or who were otherwise at risk for lymph. getting tattoos. They were an absolute No No in her book and I concur.

I am leary about regular needles and always insist that they go in the left arm (the non-lymphedema arm). I am even concerned about needles when it is for an injection; to get blood, etc., all of which are necessary.

Please reconsider getting a tattoo - they will place anyone at lymphedema at too much risk of infection, swelling, cellulitis, etc.

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Tatoos and lymphedema

Postby patoco » Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:16 am

You are sooooooo right Pamela.

I have been following the news the last few days about a multi-state growing infection from tatoos.

Several dozen people in three states have contracted MRSA from unlicensed tatoo "experts."

Something else to think about when considering this procedure.

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Postby fairiecleavage » Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:43 am

thank you for the input on this topic! i would so very much love to get a tattoo, but the risk with the lymph. i guess isnt worth it.

thank you again,
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Postby silkie » Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:53 pm

An Alternative to Tatoos is the stick on ones now
which look professional or the body painting

It seems to me a netter alternative than being a human pin cushion
and have you ever seen Tatoos on old people there faded and wrinkled look terrible

Just a thought

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Postby mama » Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:35 pm

How interesting that this topic came up. My hubby is diagnosed with Primary LE, which developed at age 25 after a fall down the stairs. But it all began with pain specifically over a tatoo he had gotten on his foot ~5 years earlier. We thought he had broken a little bone in the top of his foot from the fall- of course it has since spread like wildfire. But the tatoo is the reference point to where it all began. It is still the most sensitive there. Right over the second "m" in "Mama." :lol: (It was a sweet gesture on his part!) Surprisingly no doctors ever asked if the pain could have anything to do with the home-made tatoo. I wonder if there is a connection?

By the way, big no no to the tatoo idea. God forbid you scratch even a pimple on an LE limb accidentally during MLD! Lymphorreah is a horrible experience I would never dare risk!

Did anyone else experience pain before swelling in their onset of symptoms?

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Postby silkie » Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:23 am

Hi Stacy

I don't know if it was the onset of lymph
i was young, but i always had pain in my legs that i remember
i was told well mum was it was "growing pains"

it was more of an ache from the top of my foot to mid thigh
walking even then was painful i would have to stop

when the legs went huge i would excercise i was a mad bicycle rider
had roller skates boy could i move on them but again in spurts and the pain was always there

later still un known they diagnosed me with repetative strain in my hands and arms
i was 27 so it was not years of strain all ways puzzled me

but its only guessing it could possibley have been warnings


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