Mycobacterial infection and Tattoos

In Tattoos – Decoration or Dangerous Fad? we mentioned some possible complications as a result of Tattos
– allergy to the ink used
– if the tatoo artist has poor hygiene practice (especially if they re-use needles) you are at risk of transmission of infections like: hepatitis B,C, HIV and Syphilis
– in some people there may be excessive scarring e.g. keloids
– tattoo dyes have metallic components and may cause problems with MRIs
– the regret factor: they are permanent and complete removal is difficult

Now the NEJM reports an Outbreak of Mycobacterium chelonae Infection Associated with Tattoo Ink. Editorialists from the FDA say clinicians should suspect nontuberculous mycobacteria when a newly tattooed area has lesions with red papules.


Malaysian physician, haematologist, blogger, web and tech enthusiast