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Old 09-18-2007, 01:01 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Why Some Expectant Moms Are Worried About Tattoos

Wow, there is a possibility that tattoos could interfere with the safe use of epidural anesthesia. When people are getting tattoos, how many think about the possible consequences of them, later in life?

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Why Some Expectant Moms Are Worried About Tattoos
By Rachel Zimmerman
September 18, 2007

Pregnant women already have plenty to worry about. But now some doctors are pointing to another potential problem: tattoos.

The issue is whether it's safe to stick a needle through a tattoo in the lower back for an epidural -- an injection of painkilling medicine that can ease the discomfort of labor.

There has been an explosion in recent years in women's lower-back tattoos -- often ornate designs that take up a lot of surface area near the vertebrae where epidural needles are typically inserted.

In 2002, a pair of Canadian anesthesiologists published a report that questioned whether administering an epidural through such a tattoo could be risky. The doctors speculated that complications like inflammation or nerve damage may arise if the needle pulled a bit of dyed skin along with it, and then deposited it into the nerve-rich region outside the spinal column.

The small study of three women -- which concluded that there wasn't enough evidence to determine if the practice is safe or not -- set off a mini-wave of panic among expectant moms...

...Tattoos, of course, can be risky. Infection and diseases such as hepatitis due to unsterile equipment are known complications. Recently, scattered reports of tattooed patients getting burned during magnetic resonance imaging have surfaced. (Inks may contain metals, which could react during an MRI.)...

...Krzysztof Kuczkowski, chief of obstetric anesthesia at the University of California San Diego Medical Center, published an account in 2004 of a 34-year-old patient with tattoos covering her mid-lumbar area who received an epidural. Afterward she experienced unusual burning, tenderness and swelling where the epidural catheter had been placed. Dr. Kuczkowski believes the tattoo was the culprit. "It's possible there's a release of small particles that could contain metals or toxic compounds," he says...

...In the 2002 tattoo article in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, the three tattooed women had no ill effects from their epidurals. But author Joanne Douglas says the research led some colleagues to change their practices at the British Columbia Women's Hospital in Vancouver.

First, she says, anesthesiologists should try to avoid the tattoo. Or they can create a nick in the skin before the needle is stuck in, minimizing the chance of some skin getting pulled down with the injection. Finally, Dr. Douglas says, women should be told that while there is no proof complications will arise, there remains a potential risk.
[The Wall Street Journal requires a paid subscription for access to most of their articles.]
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:05 PM   #2
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Not to mention what their tummy tattoo is going to look like when it gets all blown up by the baby inside, then deflated again with stretch marks.
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:10 PM   #3
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Not to mention what their tummy tattoo is going to look like when it gets all blown up by the baby inside, then deflated again with stretch marks.
Lordy. That's what I keep telling the teenage girls who think they want tattoos and naval piercings. What's it going to look like in the 9th month? I don't even want to think about nipple piercing...

Then I go on to tell them that, I too, used to be a size 4....
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:21 PM   #4
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It can happen to anyone.

I have a relative who got a big dragon tattooed on his buff chest right after he got out of the military. Then he gained a lot of weight and it became "Puffy, the Magic Dragon." It looked like one of those silly, blow up beach toys. One expected it to go "squeaky, squeaky" if they squeezed his titty. With age he's lost a lot of weight, including his muscle mass. Now I imagine it looks like a pouting, sagging lizard of sorts with floppy ears.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:17 PM   #5
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That's a "small" study of three women. I don't buy all of the hoopla. There are many other "potential risks" to worry about. I'd be a lot more concerned about the lower back tattoos dripping with age.
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:02 PM   #6
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That's a "small" study of three women. I don't buy all of the hoopla. There are many other "potential risks" to worry about. I'd be a lot more concerned about the lower back tattoos dripping with age.
No kidding. Imagine a lot of smiles turned upside down. From this to this .
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:19 PM   #7
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My daughter in law has a huge dragon tattooed from shoulder to hip on her back. I had seen this study before but I wouldn't have an epidural if you paid me....the headache afterwards takes all the fun out of seeing a new baby.

Now they give you epidurals so you don't know when to push and no episiotomies so you can have a third degree tear....I am glad I am past my childbearing years!!
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