Low awareness of medical complications due to tattoos and piercings

A new study published in the Journal of the National Institute for Health Policy Research sought to examine public perceptions regarding the complications of body art. The study provides a snapshot of various health risks, including knowledge, use of substances and ethical aspects related to medical complications related to body art. The results show large differences between participants who underwent body art and those who did not regarding knowledge about health risks and medical complications as a result.

Researchers Prof. Liat Koren from the Department of Health Systems Management, Dr. Hagit Bonni.Noah from the Department of Criminology, Prof. Gideon Koren from the School of Medicine and Prof. Rachel Nissenholz.Ganot from the Department of Health Systems Management at Ariel University asked 921 people aged 19.84 ( Average age – 35) Fill out a questionnaire related to perceptions regarding body art and possible complications.

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Is the Ministry of Health supervising enough?

Most participants (91%) reported that they were aware that not all institutes were medically and hygienically safe or certified by the Ministry of Health. However while among those who did not get a tattoo or piercing the awareness was very high (96.6%) among those who did perform body art the awareness was lower (84.7%).

Similar findings were identified when asked if they are aware that so.called piercings and tattoos are required by the Ministry of Health to act – 94.5% of those who did not perform art were aware of this compared to only 77.2% among those who performed body art. The study also shows that 43.4% of those who did not perform tattoos or piercings knew that body art could cause bleeding and numbness (internal hemorrhages) compared to 37.4% among those who performed tattoos and piercings.

The researchers also found that among those who suffered from medical complications after performing body art, there were higher rates of cigarette and hookah smokers as well as those who reported using ecstasy (MDMA). The study also shows that the risk of medical complications after piercings or tattoos was four times higher among those who used ecstasy.

The researchers concluded that there is a need to develop programs aimed at raising awareness of the risks that may result from body art. It is also necessary to formulate a policy related to the regulation and enforcement of the piercing and tattoo parlors in order to more safely manage the provision of services to those who are interested in body art. “The Ministry of Health should monitor and guide tattooists and professionals who perform piercings regarding the health risks of body art and at the same time raise awareness among potential clients,” the researchers concluded.


A quarter of Americans are tattooed

Studies published in recent years have indicated an increase in the prevalence of body art especially among adolescents. A 2012 study in the United States found 21% of participants reported one or more tattoos – double the rate in 2008. Additional studies found that at least 1 in 4 Americans had a tattoo on their body.

However, body art through piercings, tattoos, subcutaneous earrings and the like has potential health hazards that can sometimes be extremely serious. Studies have shown that about a third of people who get a tattoo will suffer from complications after the process. The most common complications include local infections due to unprofessional tattooing or lack of hygiene at the place where the procedure was performed. Performing a piercing can also lead to complications such as bacterial buildup, gingivitis, bleeding, nerve damage, receding gums and in extreme cases even teething. Most people who suffer from complications and medical problems after the process go to the clinic where they performed it or look for information on the internet and only a few go to a clinic or hospital.


By Editor

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