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It is not uncommon to find that more and more women have a tattoo in the lower back, the fashion for making drawings on the skin is a very widespread practice; as it is in the world of obstetrics, the administration of epidural anesthesia for those women in labor who request it.
A few years ago there was a great controversy about whether or not it was possible to opt for an epidural analgesia if you had a tattoo in the lower back. Even today, in childbirth classes there is a question that is not missing: If I have a tattoo on the lower back, can I get an epidural?
It is true that there was a time when some anesthetists refused to puncture the back of those women who had a tattoo, to administer the epidural. This was due to the theoretical possibility that if pigment was introduced into the epidural spaces, acute short-term and long-term complications could be severe (inflammatory neuropathy, infections, or even squamous cell tumors).
Pregnant women should know that the group of anesthetists generally includes in their clinical practice protocols, the tattoo in the middle lumbar area as a relative contraindication for the administration of epidural anesthesia.
But what does the scientific evidence tell us? To this day, none of the hypothetical complications announced have ever occurred, not even if the needle with which the puncture is made has passed through the tattoo (the pigments used for this type of body art can be sterilized) . For this reason several anesthetists and dermatologists have been changing their attitude, going from an initial alarm to a later acceptance to perform the technique.
We also have to bear in mind that the epidural needle has a minimum thickness of about 2mm and the vast majority of tattoos do not cover the entire area and leave skin holes that can be punctured. Even sometimes the puncture can be located a little more laterally or at different levels of the lumbar spine so as not to interfere with the tattooed area.
In conclusion, we could say that the possible risks of the epidural in the presence of tattoos in lumbar areas have been overestimated, since no complications have yet been recorded that associate the epidural with the tattoo. However, we recommend that women who carry it speak with the anesthetist before delivery to find out what the position of the professionals is in this regard; and avoid surprises if the big day they decide to opt for an epidural analgesia.
You can read more articles similar to Lumbar tattoos and epidural anesthesia in childbirth, in the category of Delivery on site.