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British Liver Trust
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AIH and tattoos?

Hiya! I currently have two tattoos from my pre-AIH days and I want another, how safe or risky is it to get a tattoo when you have AIH? A spoke to a tattooist and he said the only thing that would stop him would be if I profusely bled everywhere, which I don't. Any thoughts?

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I have no real knowledge about tattoos but am surprised you may be considering having a third one done while you are now suffering from AIH. OK you may not bleed profusely but what happens if the needle used in the process has unknown to both the tattooist and yourself become contaminated : will your immune system and your liver be able to fight it?. Can you also be sure that your blood clotting process has not been compromised by the AIH and that no problems will occur in the wound healing process ( presumably a tattoo involves some kind of wound and breaking of the skin?) It may be perfectly safe to undergo the procedure but I do not know one way or the other. Personally I wouldn't even contemplate taking the risk of having a tattoo done while suffering from AIH even if I wanted one ,which I donn't. No doubt other contributors to this forum will have will have a very different view. However my own thought is that this is definitely a situation for discussion by you with your Doctor and Consultant before you make a decision on whether or not to proceed.

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I'm very surprised you are thinking about doing this! there are so many unknowns here, i think if you consult your doc or specialist they will probably advice against this. I do not have anything against tattoos I wish I had done one years ago before my Liver issues! But would not contemplate one now!

Stay Safe!

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I had a tattoo after being diagnosed with cirrhosis, it was a risk I was prepared to take. Doctors would always object to anyone having a tattoo with any type of liver disease. The main worry with them is infection. If the tattooist is reputable and proper hygiene is observed, I would do it. Ask yourself this though, do you really need one? If the answer is no, DON'T do it.

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There's a risk to getting a tattoo whatever your current health situation, AIH or not. Even if the place seems reputable, sterile needles etc, how well do they sterilise the whole gun and all its parts between clients. How do they sterilise the chair,etc etc.

Its a case of weighing up risk versus benefit to yourself, and which comes out the strongest.

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I have had 3 tattoo's all since being diagnosed with AIH. I had a very minor infection with one which was my own fault for not caring for it properly. I was quite young when diagnosed and needed some way to rebel and express myself. However, I now do not like 2 of the three tattoos and have looked into getting them removed. This is where AIH sufferers will struggle. The removal process is far more invasive than the tattoo process and can cause blistering which increases the infection risk. This is definitely worth considering as an AIH sufferer getting a tattoo.

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don't even think about it - its utterly dumb idea

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Dear Gemma68,

I contacted a hepatologist on your behalf and this is the advice they have given:

"Tattoos are always a health concern to hepatologists because of their historical association with transmission of HBV or syphilis. However, nowadays I understand that all the needles and equipment are single use only, so infection is not an issue.

As far as the risk of bleeding is concerned then this is NO higher than would be expected in the general public, so long as the disease is under control"

I do hope that this helps!

Best wishes and kind regards,

Sarah Tattersall

Patient Enquiry Officer

British Liver Trust

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Thank you Sarah, thank you for taking the time to contact someone for me! It's refreshing to see an unbiased answer instead of a lot of personal opinions. :)

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That's my pleasure!

It is useful to know for future enquiries!

Please feel free to give me a call on the Helpline: 0800 652 7330, if you would like to discuss this further or if there was anything else that I could help you with.

All good wishes and kind regards,

Sarah Tattersall

Patient Enquiry Officer

British Liver Trust

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I wouldn't risk it I have 2 and would liked an other one don't be silly ;)

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Thanks for your opinion Marianthi, bit late now as this was over a year ago lol. I had it done in the end, no problems at all with it except it took a bit longer to heal. :)

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I have 11 tattoos had had another booked but then found out I had AIH and was really ill now I cancelled that tattoo and really want to book it in again. I've asked loads for advice but can't see any reason not to apart from people going NOO!! I'm gona book mine soon 😊

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