Medical Tattoos


There are many types of medical tattoos, here's a quick overview:

  • A medical tattoo can show allergic reactions or illnesses of the people that have one. The tattoo serves as a warning that a person is dealing with a chronic disease, which indicates treatment by a specialist must be provided quickly should the disease come on suddenly.
  • A tattoo can be used to cover up a scar.
  • After a mastectomy the areola can be replaced by a tattoo, or tattoos can be used to fill in areas where the pigmentation of the skin may have been affected.
  • Medical tattoos can also be helpful in radiotherapy. By marking points on the body with small tattoos the radiotherapist can adjust the beam properly, thus minimizing damage to any surrounding tissue.
  • There is also something known as a blood group tattoo, which has the person's blood type tattooed on them.
  • Permanent makeup helps people with alopecia (hair loss) by tattooing eyebrows for example.


Scar Tattoos

Tattoo over scar

Stars tattoo covering dog bite scars

It used to be thought that getting tattoos on scars could not be done. With new thinking and technology this is no longer the case, and scar tattoos are now used to cover the scars of many people who years ago would have gone though life dealing with this eyesore on their skin forever.

The longer one waits to get a scar cover up tattoo, the better it will look. When dealing with scars, it is good to keep in mind how soon you can tattoo over a scar. While many physicians suggest waiting six to nine months to get a scar tattoo, it will likely look better and be more stable if the person can wait until around two years.

Not all scars can be tattooed over though. Keloid scars are composed of different types of collagen, and getting a scar tattoo over keloid scars is not recommended, due to the probability of infection. Sometimes it is done successfully though. Another idea is to have a tattoo around the keloid scar such as for example a zipper tattoo around the scar tissue. But even that has certain risks because tattooing can cause keloid formation, especially if you are prone to developing keloids.

Having a spinal scar covered by a tattoo has become a popular practice (a design including angel wings for example). People who had had heart surgery are also excellent candidates for getting tattoos to make their scars less noticeable.

Tummy tuck tattoos are another form of tattoo art used to hide scars. A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery used to flatten the abdomen by removing fat and excess skin. Tattoos can be used to cover up the scar. Usually the scar is a big horizontal line, so often designs such as vines, stars or a centipede are used.

The scar tattoo in the next picture is of another kind: the tattoo was first, the scar later. The doctor used his creative skills to fit the cut line into the tattoo.

Scar Tattoos


Mastectomy Tattoos

When having mastectomy surgery, the patient will be left with scars after the surgery. To make these patients feel better about themselves, medical tattoos can be used to cover the scars.

The purpose of breast reconstruction after mastectomy surgery is to try and get the area to look as good as it did prior to the surgery, and having mastectomy tattoos can accomplish this goal better than any other method. These medical tattoos can be a vital part of mastectomy reconstruction. Whether the person has had breast cancer or breast reduction surgery, a mastectomy tattoo can make them feel better again.

In a process known as dermapigmentation, the scar area is tattooed to make the pigmentation of the skin in that area appear more like the unaffected skin that surrounds it. This makes the whole area look more natural and makes the scarring less noticeable. For many mastectomy patients, areola restoration is performed by tattooing the breast and gives the impression of a real nipple.


Medical Alert Tattoos

A medical alert tattoo is quite different from a scar tattoo. People dealing with a serious medical condition, such as diabetes can have a tattoo showing that they are a diabetic, thus meaning a higher likelihood of getting help should they fall under attack and not be able to communicate their problem verbally.

Alert medical tattoos offer a permanent solution as compared to medical alert bracelets. Bracelets have been known to break, and that not only means waiting for a new bracelet, but usually having to spend more money to get a replacement as well. With the consent of their parents, these medical tattoos have even been known to be a solution for children dealing with these kinds of diseases.

People experiencing allergies that can lead to major complications may also consider medical alert tattoos. People who have a penicillin or peanut allergy for example, can benefit from this type of tattoo in the event they eat something that has peanuts in it without their knowledge. This can result in something called anaphylaxis, which is a condition that requires immediate attention and treatment.


Caduceus (Medical Symbol) Tattoos

Some people, usually working in the medical field, have tattoos of the caduceus symbol because they think it's a medical symbol. There are a variety of ways in which the caduceus symbol is interpreted. Typically, a short herald's staff is entwined by two serpents in a double helix form, sometimes surrounded by wings. Sometimes the staff is replaced by a sword or cross with one or two serpents.

However, the caduceus symbol has been greatly confused with the "Rod of Asclepius", which has only 1 snake and no wings. This is the true traditional medical symbol.


Medical Tattoos for Alopecia

In case of alopecia (hair loss), tattoos can be a great help. It can apply to hair loss in general, however, such as the loss of someone's eyebrows. Using permanent makeup to form an eyebrow tattoo can help the person look normal again, as these medical tattoos can be be made to look as natural as normal eyebrows.