Bizarre Medical Case Demonstrates Why Immune-Compromised People Should Steer Clear Of Tattoos
Ah, tattoos. To some, they are the spire of artistic expression, to others they are a wearable reminder of past experiences, and to a very unlucky handful, they are the cause of severely unpleasant medical problems.
After all, though we rarely dwell on the details of the inking process, tattoos are created by repeatedly puncturing the skin with a needle in order to pushing pigments- whose formulations and production are not governed by any health and safety oversight organizations- into the tissue layer that contains one’s nerve end, blood and lymph vessels, sweat and sebaceous glands, and whisker follicles.
This dermal trauma and introduction of foreign substances can lead to a nasty allergic reaction or bacterial infection that must be treated with anti-inflammatories or antibiotics. And thanks to an unusual instance detailed in BMJ Case Reports, there is evidence that the increasingly large subset of people living with weakened immune systems may be at risk of particularly serious different forms of these complications.
According to the authors, physicians at a National Health Service( NHS) facility in Glasgow, the 31 -year-old woman at the heart of this cautionary narration had just take immunosuppressants for several years- following a 2009 double lung transplant- when things first moved south. Because she had received a tattoo on her right leg that healed uneventfully, she saw no reason not to get one on her left thigh: a lovely tribute to the enduring desire of Jack and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas .
Beginning merely nine periods after the tattoo was completed, she developed suffering in her thigh and knee that was so severe she had to request painkillers. Her sorenes levels lowered somewhat shortly after yet remained bothersome enough over the next 10 months that her primary physician( s) cited her to a rheumatology department. Wanting to assess the possibility of a joint or muscle cancer, the specialists ran a number of tests. They all came back negative.
Finally, a biopsy of her thigh muscle exposed she was suffered by a was all right autoimmune condition called inflammatory myopathy. Characterized by lingering ache and muscle weakness, the make or causes of inflammatory myopathies have been difficult to pinpoint.
“We can’t absolutely prove it was due to the tattoo but because of the timing firstly, with the symptoms coming on 1 week after she had the tattoo, the place being right underneath where she had the tattoo, it produced us to connote there is a relate there having exhausted all other lines of investigation, ” co-author William Wilson told The Guardian.
“Nobody knows in most cases what causes inflaming in the muscle, the implication is that it could be something like bacteria that has got in there, or it could be a reaction to a toxin- such as perhaps the ink, ” he added.
As there are no proven pharmaceutical therapies for inflammatory myopathy, the physicians recommended physical therapy to avoid muscle atrophy and maintain her scope of movement. One year after her symptoms onset, she began to improve; after three years, she was finally pain-free.
“Patients are unlikely to discuss tattoos with medical professionals, even though these might be relevant. Long-term immunosuppressed patients are often young adults who may wish to consider tattooing, ” the authors conclude.
“It is well recognised that immunosuppressed patients are at high risk of infection including cutaneous mycobacterial infections. They therefore represent a group that is at a potentially higher peril of tattoo-related complications and warrant special consideration.”