Behcets and Tattoos

Hi, I was diagnosed years ago with behcets but have been very lucky since not to have too many flair ups. I really want to get a tattoo but am not sure if this is a wise move given the positive pathergy test diagnosis for behcets. I was wondering if anyone had any problems with behcets and tattoos or any advice as to whether or not I should steer clear or should not have any problems.


7 Replies

  • Hi emclem85!

    This question came up so often in BD support groups that I finally did a survey of BDers who'd gotten tattoos and included the info in my latest book. 73 patients participated in the survey, and I had extra feedback from a tattoo artist who's also a BD patient.

    The bottom line from the survey (pg 112-115): "About one out of every three people diagnosed with BD develops a problem with their tattoos and/or their health as a result of the tattoo process. In comparison, only one out of every 10 supposedly-healthy people reports a post-tattoo problem. [Kluger, N. (2012). Acute complications of tattooing presenting in the ED. The American journal of emergency medicine, 30(9), 2055-2063.] Tattoo healing issues aren't just common to BD patients, though: people who are diabetic, anemic, take certain medications like blood thinners or immunosuppressants, or have other autoimmune disorders may also experience healing problems. It's possible that Behcet's could make some of these tattoo complications worse; in a way, it's a variation on the pathergy response."

    Of course the flip side of one out of every three BDers having post-tat issues is that TWO out of three BDers have NO problems -- at least according to this small survey. I'm hoping to do a larger survey in the future, and also include piercings.

    I've wanted to get a tattoo for years (I've had one in mind for a long time), but my flares have eased up so much now that I just don't want to risk it. Everyone's different, though -- and I'm sure BDers who've gotten tattoos will share their experiences here!

    All the best,

    Joanne Z.

  • Hi Emclem85!

    I agree with Joanne below. I have 7 and the only complications I have had are healing of the peice. Some of my ink looks great amd some did not heal well :( And really keep it clean amd dry since we are more susceptible to infection die to our medications; if you are on any. With all that said, I do suggest consulting your doc.

    If you go forth, hope you love it? Tattoos are fun :D


  • Hi both my daughter and I have a tattoo, we had no problem with healing but we did have a 24 hour flare the day after having the tattoo done. We both had to spend the day in bed. I hope this helps

  • I have never had a positive pathergy test, but have all of the other symptoms. I had one tattoo done and didn't have any problems at all. Like everything the only way to know is to go for it, but instead I would weigh up the pros and cons, including how severe you Bechet's has been in the lead up.

  • I consulted my doctor as I am due to get one done in October, they said there is no recorded link between having a flare up and tattoos, and there have been many studies on the subject.

    I will report back after having it done if I have had any issues. (going to be a big tattoo, so is a good test)

  • Awesome, thanks! Good luck, hope it goes well and you are happy with the result :)

  • I have had tattoos with no issues but piercings don't heal and trigger flare ups so not sure if it's just coincidence or state of my health at the time

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