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Tattoos and immune suppressants

Past Member
Posted by Past Member, on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:11 pm
Hi Everyone im up for reversal soon and have been told to stop taking azathioprine six weeks before my surgery can i have my tattoo finished in this time???will it a be problem for my health??
If any one has any information I will be eternally grateful.

Thank You Samuel.
Reply by scotiaman, on Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:26 am
I cant believe your asking for advise on this forum for an answer to this question. ONLY your medical team can advise you...azathioprine has serious cancer related issues... and getting a reversal is NO walk in the park..maybe the reversal should be of higher prioriety than a tattoo !!
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:29 pm
Its the only time ill ever be off the drugs for any length of time.
The medical team are not sure... the doctors answer questions with questions, like when i asked "What will happen if i bash or knock my stoma in general everyday life?"
and be told by the doctors- "What happens if i get run over by a car".
Which is a great help!!!!

Sooooo im asking people who might know more about it and might have had tattoos themselves.

As its my one opportunity to get mine finished.
And Im not a moron that will just do anything I'm told.
Reply by Calico, on Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:21 pm
Hi Samuel,

I wasn't getting ready for surgery or anything, but after having a colonoscopy my Dr put me on azathioprine, not to mention just having autoimmune diseases, my immune system is always non existant, I get infections very easily, and all the time. But it was the anniversary of my brothers death, and my sister and I got matching tattoo's in his memory, it is the first and only tattoo I've ever gotten.  We talked to the person who was doing the tattoo and made her aware of all of my health problems, and my compromised immune system, and all the infections that I had.  Of course she warned me about the possibilities of possible infections, and  told me that if I felt my tattoo was starting to feeel infected to go strait to my primary care doctor and get on antibiotics.  But I did get my tattoo, and I had absolutely no problems what so ever.  Infact not only did it not hurt, but it never even pealed (my sister had problems with hers pealing and hurting when in the sun light) We were told to use Eucerin Aquaphor (you can pick up in any store, in the lotion section for less than $5) that worked great.  

Of course not everyone is the same, but like they told me, if you feel like it's getting infected, just get in to see your Dr ASAP, or if you're worried about it maybe see your Dr first and maybe they would advise you to start antibiotics before having it done.

Hope this helps,
Reply by sfgiantsfan, on Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:37 pm
I would talk to your doctor and ask about taking an antibiotic before getting the Tattoo. I would definitely not get if finished until you ask your doctor if it is okay. You don't want it to cause problems after getting it and risking your reversal surgery from happening. I know that I have to take antibiotics before I go see the dentist so I won't get an infection.
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:30 am
Thanks everyone im very fit and healthy in general.
Im only on a small dose i have had tattoos done many years ago.
I have asked the doctors they dont really know and seem indifferent about
But whats to say that i wont cut my self in every day life while at work or taking the rubbish out whilst ON the tablets!! i Can't live in a bubble for the rest of my life!

A tatto is only a small scratch... The surgeons left 9 inch slice of my stomach open for 3 months and i was on every drug under sun and very weak.... I lived then!
Now I will be off them for a short while in which time I just Would like it finished.
I was just asking if any one has got any experience in this... The doctors don't really care/dont know.
Reply by violet-hummingbird, on Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:43 am
Hey there Lostrealist.

Your Doctors can't answer the question that you pose with any evidence based accuracy (which they love) because likely the issue has never been researched.. so , you will be on your own to make a decision.

However, a tattoo is just a superficial wound , and your chance of healing after having it done is probably a bit better when you aren't vulnerable with immunosuppression. It takes about 6 weeks though for you're body cells to begin to be made normally by your bone marrow, when the immunosuppression drugs finish.

Tatooing will bring with it a risk of skin infection (also blood borne infections such as Hep B/C) , so, as others have advised, if you decide to get it done you should be vigilant for signs of infection and get help immediately (antibiotics /wound care) . If you do get a skin infection there is no way that surgeons would attempt a reversal op- it would be postponed until the area has healed and skin swabs are clear.

From my own perspective, I'd opt for good health and a reversal op as a priority -- a picture drawn on skin seems less important in the grand scheme of things.. but Hey..we are all different!
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