Diagnostic Ink: The Skinny On Medical Tattoos

Intel Inside

(image via: BME News)

Intelligence, that is, as in the knowledge that an unseen implanted defibrillator lurks within the person inscribed as such. Suggestions for complementary tattoos would include “This Side Up” and “Knock Before Entering”. Credit for the artwork above goes to DJ Rose at Halo Tattoos, located in Syracuse, NY.

Seize The Moment

(images via: FOX News and Urtattoo.com)

Those who suffer from seizures may ascribe them to a wide range of underlying conditions, so why force EMS techs to play guessing games? The fact that seizures can strike at any time and anyplace – regardless if one’s wearing their Medic Alert bracelet – makes a medical tattoo a wise idea.

Scar Furrow Fair

(images via: Check Out My Ink, Free Tattoo Designs and PopFi)

Some people have ordered tattoos to cosmetically reduce the visual impact of scarring due to open heart surgery (above, top) and dog bites (above, left). There are scars and there are scars… Julie Gnuse, the woman shown above right, is recognized by the Guinness World Book of Records as being “The World’s Most Tattooed Woman” with 95% of her body covered in inked designs. Gnuse suffers from Porphyria, a rare condition that causes her skin to blister when exposed to sunlight, and has been covering up the scars with tattoos.

Needle & Fred

(images via: The Checkup and Ferbs)

Content aside, medical tattoos are much like any other tattoo which means if something large, elaborate and colorful is desired… well, let’s just say the old maxim “no pain, no gain” is remarkably appropriate. It’s not just a matter of vanity, either: the need to attract attention can, in some cases, be a matter of life and death. In any (and every) case, choose your tattoo artist wisely and by all means ask for references.

Last Rights?

(images via: Design Slight and Mirror.co.uk)

The right to die on one’s own terms is a touchy topic that arouses passions on either side of the issue. There’s no such thing as a Do Not Resuscitate Medic Alert bracelet and once someone reaches this particular decision point they’re not likely to be in a position to argue their case. For these people, what’s right is their rights and the only solution is to write… upon their own skin, right where the electric paddles go.



(image via: Design Slight)

Medical tattoos are seen by some as a new trend that’s rapidly gaining in popularity. They’re tattoos, sure, but their meanings are intensely personal and carry much more emotional weight than, say, a misspelled motto or an inappropriate Chinese character laughed at by those who can read. Who knows where will the trend lead… and if overzealous TSA/DHS types will someday require them whether you have a medical condition or not.