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Unusual complication of a tattoo in an immunosuppressed patient


Tattooing for decorative body art is becoming more popular and, as a result, so are tattoo-related complications. Patients are unlikely to discuss tattoos with medical professionals, even though these might be relevant. Long-term immunosuppressed patients are often young adults who may wish to consider tattooing. It is well recognised that immunosuppressed patients are at increased risk of infection including cutaneous mycobacterial infections. They therefore represent a group that is at a potentially higher risk of tattoo-related complications and warrant special consideration.

We present the first documented case of inflammatory myopathy as a complication following tattooing in an immunosuppressed individual. This unusual case presented as distal thigh and medial knee pain and it was only after some time that a link to the tattoo was made. This serves as a reminder to consider tattoo-related complications in the differential diagnosis of unusual atraumatic musculoskeletal pain, especially in immunosuppressed individuals.

  • transplantation
  • dermatological
  • muscle disease

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