Fast Five Quiz: Tattoos

Brett Sloan, MD


September 10, 2020

Tattooing has been practiced for thousands of years for purposes of identification, group affiliation and protection, and artistic expression. Tattooing is now most often performed by tattoo artists, who use electric needles to introduce particles of pigment into the dermis. The popularity of tattoos continues to rise. Although complications are rare, their incidence is increasing. A recent study found that internet searches for symptoms related to tattoo complications have dramatically grown.

The introduction of foreign pigments into the skin can result in inflammatory reactions, transmission of infectious diseases, and localization of skin disease within tattoos secondary to trauma. Moreover, removal of tattoos, which is typically performed with solid-state lasers that emit ultrashort pulses in the nanosecond or picosecond range, also has potential complications. These include burns; blisters; infections; irregular pigmentation; and, rarely, scarring.

Are you familiar with conditions related to tattoos and tattoo removal? With more patients than ever "getting inked," make sure you're prepared with this short quiz.


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