Tattoos That Spread Can Be Mistaken as Cancer Metastases
I found this article of interest. It was in a woman who had extensive leg tattoos and known cervical cancer. A whole-body PET-CT scan revealed what appeared to be cancer spread in the left and right ileac lymph nodes, the team reports and this resulted in a surgical exploration of these lymph nodes which revealed the tattoo pigment in the lymph nodes not cancer. We know that Tattoos spread and in many body tattoos particularly when the tattoo is placed deep in the dermis. This produces lateral spreading to obtain the color backgrounds that the tattooist wants to achieve (Not what we do in scalp micropigmentation). These tattoos however do not stay in the deeper dermis, but move up the body’s lymphatics into the regional lymph nodes. Many of these pigments have heavy metals in them that have a tendency to migrate as the body tries to ‘clean it up’. Some of the temporary tattoos that are used in scalp micropigmentation have a silicon base, and silicon is known to migrate from the placement site to as far as the brain and lungs and if it is silicon based, that is a real risk.
We perform scalp micropigmentation with organic pigments (no silicon or heavy metals) and keep them located to the very upper part of the dermis to minimizes systemic spread. We are very aware that proper placement of the pigment is critical, not only to obtain the discrete ‘dots’ we create that looks like cut hairs, but to keep these ‘dots’ very superficial so that lateral spread is minimized.
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