Could A Lower Back Tattoo Keep You From Getting An Epidural?

Talk about tattoo regret! Could a popular body spot for tattoos stop women from getting pain medication? Researchers say it could. Before you make such a permanent decision, there are some things to consider.

Sara Berger has a tattoo and says, "My mom told me no but I went and did it anyway."

Like a lot of young women Sara Berger really wanted a tattoo, and her lower back seemed like a great spot to plant it. She said, "I figured that you wouldn't be able to see it when I got older like in a wedding dress it would hide well."

However, some people are wondering if putting a tattoo on the lower back will stop them from having an epidural. An epidural is an injection to the lower back to block pain, which is commonly given to women during childbirth.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist Dr. Scott Jarmain says there has been a lot of misinformation on the Internet. He says a small study done on lower back tattoos didn't find enough evidence one way or the other. He believes women can safely have an epidural with a lower back tattoo if doctors are careful.

Dr. Jarmain said, "We learn how to avoid the risks associated with injections in the lower back."

He says no one should have an epidural if the tattoo is fresh. The ink should be dry and the skin completely healed. That means you should wait about 8 to 12 weeks.

If your tattoo is older modern needles don't grab the skin and are unlikely to disturb the ink.

Dr. Jarmain says doctors will look for a spot with no ink, saying "If she had to get a tattoo I'd try to convince her to get a tattoo and put it over... the upper part of the butt left or right and keep it smaller because when the tattoo is so big it leaves the doctor with very little room to put the needle."

The whole lower back tattoo, according to some, is already so yesterday. Sara Berger agrees saying, "I'd probably say the foot that's where most girls are getting them now."

The doctor says unsanitary conditions are the real fear when it comes to tattoos. Dirty needles can spread Hepatitis and infection. He says to make sure you check out any tattoo parlor carefully.


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