Safety of tattoos in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

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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