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Date of last update: 10/09/2017.

Forum Name: Dialysis

Question: Cardiovascular & nevervus system risks of tattoo removal

 Inovative22 - Tue Jan 06, 2004 3:53 am

I have been doing a lot of research on this topic for quite some time. I had some tattooing done in my younger days, and now I want to have them removed. I am very concerned with possible health risks. I have consulted with a tattoo removal M.D. But I was not satisfied with the answers to my questions, so I was hoping someone could answer them. My main health concerns include risk of possible liver damage, cardiovascular damage, ( arteries, heart, and lungs ) and even brain damage. The reason for this is because I chose to have my tattooing done with a special type of compound which contains iron oxide. ( this prevents fading of the tattoo ) Tattoo removal is done with a short beams of laser that break up the tattoo pigments into fragments. Then they are removed by your The body's immune system. My main concern is will the iron oxide posse any risk( as it travels through my blood stream.) to my arteries, liver, heart, or brain? And if so are these risk serious?? - Mike, CA
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sat Jan 24, 2004 6:32 pm

User avatar Innovative,
The two predominant risks of improper tattooing procedure are exposure to blood borne pathogens and allergic responses to the pigments used in the ink. Tattoo inks are not regulated by the FDA or any other watchdog. This means that not many studies (which need sponsoring, organizing) have been conducted to evaluate the risks which you have outlined. In short, no one can give you a concrete conclusion as to the long term effects of tattoo removal.

A good place to start researching is to perform a medline search at The National Library of Medicine.

Click here

Type in keywords such as iron oxide and heart disease and it will return all the studies performed using those keywords. If you find anything it would be best to return here and post it as not all published abstracts have the same credibility and the process of evaluation would best be left to an M.D. / researcher.
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:47 pm

User avatar Dear Mike,

How big of a tattoo(s) are we talking about? And was this iron used in all the colors of the tattoo(s) or just a few drops here and there?

If it is not that big of a tattoo(s) and it is not really in an obvious place(s), i would suggest for you to remove it surgically. i.e. Remove the part of skin where the tattoo(s) is present and this way you will not have to worry about the side effects of iron.

Iron can have detrimental effect on the health system if it chronically accumulates over a long period of time like in patients who need chronic blood transfusions or in patients born with an in-born error of iron metabolism called hemochromatosis.

Personally, i do not really think that the amount of iron present in the tattoo(s) that you have will pose any health threat, putting in mind that i am not a specialized person in tattoo removal. If you still have any major concerns, the best type of doctor to ask all these questions about iron would be a hematologist (a doctor specialized in blood diseases).

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.

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