Individuals were asked whether they had tattoos or not by the experts in order to ascertain the safety of tattoos in individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Twenty-eight patients (19%, 26 women, median age 33 (25–42) years, 65 tattoos in total) had ≥1 tattoo.The characteristics of the tattoos and the immediate complications were investigated and compared with those of a matched control group.
They were examined retrospectively, after the tattoo was completed to see whether there had been flare-ups or increased organ damage.. Finally, they compared the SLE-related characteristics of patients with and without tattoos.
No patients experienced acute complications. After a median follow-up of 17 (12–20) months (3 (2–4) visits/year) four patients had five mild-to-moderate flare-ups. The median time between the tattoo and the flare-up was 9 (6–14) months. The SLE-related characteristics of patients with and without tattoos were similar.
Conclusion: Tattoos seem to be safe in SLE patients with inactive or low active disease.
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