Lymphoedema and tattoos

I have some lymphoedema in my arm since having a lumpectomy and axillary node clearance nearly 3 years ago. I wear a compression sleeve at night and have exercises and massage to manage it. I have a small tattoo at the top of that arm which I would like to have covered up with a different tattoo. I know generally it’s not advised but I also know lots of women have tattoos over lumpectomy/mastectomy scars. Has anyone had a tattoo to the arm they have had surgery on. Thanks x

Hi TracyP

No I haven’t had a tattoo on either of my arms (both masts and full ANC’s 2006/07)

Anyone who’s had ANC is advised to avoid cuts, grazes, insect or animal bites, sunburn, blood pressure cuffs, cannulas for anaesthetic, injections or the taking of blood to the affected arm. Basically ANY thing that breaks or irritates the skin. Simply because it’s likely to cause an infection and you no longer have a normal immune response to fight any infection that is likely to be introduced by any of those mentioned. Or in the case of BP cuffs, they can “cause” lymphoedema. The fact that you already have lymphoedema in that arm, indicates that your immune system isn’t going to function very well.

So you are pretty much asking for problems with a re-tattoo, it involving a needle machine that’s repetitively “breaking” the skin, despite however careful the tattooist may be with hygiene. Scars on the chest/breast - different area, so not so likely to be affected. 

You said yourself, “I KNOW IT GENERALLY ISN’T ADVISED”. WHY do you think it “isn’t advised”, Tracy?? Why don’t you check into it further first. 

Please take good care of that arm of yours.

Kind Regards, but tough advice,  Delly X