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Is tattoo in the operative field a disadvantage in posterior thoracolumbar surgery?

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, Turkey
2 Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, Ege University, Bornova, Izmir, Turkey

Correspondence Address:
Erkin Ozgiray,
Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, Ege University, 35040 Bornova, Izmir
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nsn.nsn_71_22

Objective: Tattooing has become more popular, especially in Western culture. We aimed to analyze the impacts of the presence of tattoos in the operative field for posterior thoracolumbar surgery. Methodology: This study was performed using data extracted from the medical files of 15 patients who underwent posterior thoracolumbar surgery between April 2013 and May 2020 in the neurosurgery department of our tertiary care center. Therapeutic, clinical, and cosmetic outcomes after surgery necessitating incision on the tattoo are presented together with a brief discussion of the current literature. Results: Our series consisted of nine women and six men with an average age of 31.03 (range, 17–45) years. The duration of follow-up was 52 (range, 6–90) months. Ten patients underwent posterior spinal stabilization, and a simple discectomy was performed on five patients. The therapeutic outcomes and clinical improvement were satisfactory in all patients. No complications attributed to the presence of tattoos were detected in any patients. Conclusion: Posterior thoracolumbar surgery usually necessitates a midline incision that may unavoidably result in the deformation of a tattoo. Our results yielded that therapeutic and cosmetic results in patients with tattoos in the operative field were acceptable in the vast majority of cases after posterior thoracolumbar surgery.

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