Doctors have warned that Tattoos can cause infections 15 years after they are drawn, as a woman was admitted to hospital suffering enlarged lymph nodes.
The 30-year old Australian lady feared she had developed cancer when she noticing painful lumps in her armpit and visited the hospital for treatment.
Doctors at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sidney were able to remove the tissue which they discover was harmless. The experts came to the conclusion that the lumps were caused by a reaction to tattooing which had been done 15 years previously, and have urged doctors to ask about tattoos when patients are suffering from lymphoma.
For a long time, doctors have known that tattoo ink travels to the lymph nodes because the nodes can change to the same colour of the ink, but a new study has shown the effect can still happen several years after a person gets the tattoos.
Another recent research by the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) found that toxic nanoparticles of titanium dioxide found in tattoo ink can travel through the body and become lodged in the lymph nodes where they can cause problems.
This was confirmed by one of the authors of the study and scientist at the ESRF, Hiram Castillo who said people are usually more concerned about the sterility of the needles used in drawing tattoos than the ink itself.
“When someone wants to get a tattoo, they are often very careful in choosing a parlour where they use sterile needles that haven´t been used previously,” Castillo said.
“No one checks the chemical composition of the colours, but our study shows that maybe they should.”
Few studies have looked at the toxic impact of tattoo ink, which can contain preservatives and contaminants like nickel, chromium, manganese or cobalt.
Bernhard Hesse, one of the two first authors of the study and ESRF visiting scientist also added that pigments from tattoos would travel to the lymph nodes because of visual evidence since the lymph nodes become tinted with the colour of the tattoo.
“It is the response of the body to clean the site of entrance of the tattoo. What we didn’t know is that they do it in a nano form, which implies that they may not have the same behaviour as the particles at a micro level. And that is the problem: we don’t know how nanoparticles react,” the doctor said.(Buzznigeria)