BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-200284

Tattoo pigment in axillary lymph node mimicking calcification of breast cancer

  1. Christine Ruth Galbraith3
  1. 1Department of Anatomical Pathology, Pathology Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Department of Anatomical Pathology, Mater Pathology, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3Department of BreastScreen Queensland, Queensland Health, Coopers Plains, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Admire Matsika, admire{at}


A tattoo is defined as the intentional or accidental deposit of pigment into the skin. The phenomenon of skin tattooing is on the rise worldwide and complications of tattooing are increasingly being recognised in diagnostic and clinical medicine. We describe a case of calcification-like changes on mammography resembling that of breast malignancy as a result of tattoo pigment deposition in an axillary lymph node. Recognition of such changes in routine breast screening is crucial to avoid further unnecessary invasive investigations and surgery in such patients.

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