Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How long after hernia surgery should I wait to get a tattoo?"
I'm scheduled to get my groin hernia fixed on dec 23rd, they are using the mesh and stitching for it, and I already have an appointment to get a tattoo on my ribs on the 30th. Should I postpone the tattoo? I would really rather not have to postpone it I really want to get it done as soon as possible. How long should I wait?
Thank you very much for your question. I recommend that you speak with your surgeon about your concern. As you likely know, a hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall through which your abdominal contents can protrude. This can include bowel or fat. Often times they present as lumps that increase in size with increased exertion such as straining or lifting heavy objects and can be associated with pain. Any incision in the skin can increase your chance of infection; thus, you have a small risk of having a skin infection at the site of your hernia operation. With synthetic material such as mesh, an infection of the mesh itself is a very dangerous complication. If the mesh becomes infected, it will have to be removed. Getting a tattoo can increase your chance of having a skin infection at the site of your tattoo. While this seems to be removed from the site of your hernia repair, you want to minimize risk to your hernia repair as much as possible. It is not possible to receive a diagnosis or in depth advice regarding your specific medical condition without being evaluated by a physician or other qualified health professional. While I would normally recommend that you speak with your primary care physician, given that this situation particularly relates to your operation, I would recommend that you speak with your surgeon before deciding whether or not to continue with the scheduling of your tattoo.
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