“I HAVE HEMOPHILIA AND I DECIDED TO GET TATTOOED”

While recalling the pointillism technique that he used for his tattoos, René Montt says that the pain threshold of people with hemophilia is so high that even this style of tattooing, which is supposed to be more painful, led him to complain.

For years, Rene had wanted to tattoo his skin, but fear prevented him, because at six months old of age he was diagnosed with type A (severe) hemophilia, which represents a risk to his health.  

Montt, 36, a guitarist for different Mexican bands and a music teacher in the central American country of Mexico considers himself as a person who always likes to make a difference and who admires art in all its expressions, hence his desire to get tattoos.  

“It may be absurd to say that a tattoo is going to make you happy, but it gave me inner satisfaction in the midst of life’s difficulties.”  

That was the feeling that Montt says he experienced when he finished his first tattoo session. However, he also assures that at that moment the uncertainty arrived, because although he accomplished what for him was a “feat,” the consequences could come later. 

René began to get tattoos with small sessions that he increased to see the reaction of his body. Today he has his entire right arm tattooed and has the logo of his favorite band on his neck.

René says that in order to make his decision to get a tattoo, he began to get to know his body and to see how he reacted to certain procedures. He talks, for example, of when they performed dental micro-surgeries. “It works similar” he points out. 

This is how, defying the doctors’ recommendations and putting aside the “overprotection” that he takes his condition to, three hours before starting the tattoo, he injected his factor. The musician states that during the process there was no bleeding, which was what he feared most. He only had a little swelling and claims that he healed well.

What do the specialists say?

For Dr. Fabio Galeano, professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Caldas and specialist in Internal Medicine and Hematology at the SES Hospital Universitario de Caldas (Colombia), the application of factor or prophylactic therapy, which has a plasma life of 8 to 12 hours, does help control, or decrease the chance of normal bleeding.  

The specialist also explains that tattoos on the skin are usually superficial, so they will not cause bleeding. He says that hemophilia is usually associated with cuts or trauma that can cause bleeding deeper into the muscles or joints. 

Likewise, he points out that the bleeding risk depends on the severity of the hemophilia. “Patients with mild hemophilia can often go through their lives without even realizing that they have the disease because the factor deficiency allows them to have good control of minor bleeding.”

To pay  attention to 

Galeano argues that people who have other bleeding disorders, such as von Willebrand disease or platelet abnormalities, after superficial trauma can present bruising or bleeding greater than that of a person who does not have the pathology.  

He also refers to the fact that there are areas of the skin or places on the body that are more likely to cause increased bleeding during the tattoo process. Such as the eyelids or the ankle area.   

Regarding scarring, he affirms that it has not yet been documented whether hemophilia can alter this process. He says this depends on other characteristics, such as nutritional status or whether there are other diseases, rather than hemophilia itself. 

To consider

  • The body can have an adverse reaction to any substance, so it is important to always consult a specialist. 
  • When it comes to getting a tattoo, there may be risks associated with mishandling any applicable equipment. Always find a safe place and verify the hygienic conditions of said location: if they have adequate licenses and utilized sterile instruments.  
  • You can also complete a pigment allergy test before the process. 

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