Getting a Tattoo After Surgery?

I had an appointment for a tattoo for my birthday before booking my surgery date. Now I will be having a mommy makeover Jan 31st so is getting a tattoo on my wrist Feb 10th ok or should I cancel the appt? If so then when would it be safe to get it? Or would it be safe to get it now & have time for it to heal before surgery?

Doctor Answers 25

Tattoo After Surgery

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With regards to getting a tattoo after a mommy makeover, it is probably fine to do one fairly soon after surgery. However, the worse care scenario, especially if implants were placed, would be having an infection of the tattoo site. I feel like both of these procedures are elective and as a result why not allow a certain amount healing from the surgery before a second injury in the form of a tattoo is caused. I would recommend waiting a few months after the procedure just to allow the body to return to a more normal noninflamed stage following the healing process before having a tattoo performed. In most cases, the time period could be shortened and most likely it would still be fine.


Santa Monica Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Tattoo after surgery

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For elective cosmetic surgery, I always recommend not taking any unnecessary risks as there are medical risks and financial risks, as this type of surgery is not covered by your insurance company.   I would wait until you are completely healed from your mommy makeover prior to tattoo.   All the best.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Best to wait

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When recovering from a major cometic surgery such as a mommy makeover, it is probably not an ideal time to have a tattoo done. The more serious concern would be introducing potential infection that may interfere with your healing but also it may just be uncomfortable for your to sit in one position for long enough to have the tattoo done just 10 days after your procedure. Most likely is it is easier to reschedule a tattoo appointment than a surgical procedure :-)

David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

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Tattoo following surgery

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A tattoo on your wrist, remote from your surgical site, should not present any issue to the recovery from your mommy makeover, even when performed only 10 days after surgery.  You may still have some post-op discomfort at that point, but again, this should not create a problem.

Timing for tattoo after surgery

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Most healing occurs in the first six weeks following surgery.  The incision sites then continue to fade for the next six months to two years.  The maturing scar might influence the tattoo in these earlier stages of healing.  It seems prudent to wait at least three months following surgery for a tattoo on the scar, but more time would probably be better.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

I'd hold off

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As a general matter, I would ask my breast implant patients to wait 6 weeks after surgery before getting a tattoo, and only that soon if there have been no complications. The biggest concern I have is the risk of infection from the tatoo that would spread to the surgical site and require us to remove your implants. Since there does not seem to be any particular reason to rush, waiting is generally the better course of action.

Of course, it is critical that you ask this question to your doctor. Only s/he knows your exact medical conditions and the way you are healing. When s/he feels like it is safe, then you can go ahead and get the tattoo.

Happy almost birthday!


Tattoo after surgery

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The biggest concern is getting an infection that could harm your recovery. To be on the safe side, I'd advise you to wait a month or two but ask your surgeon.

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Probably ok

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Probably OK but I would check with your surgeon. What if you get an infection from your tattoo? There may be complicating factors and I would check with your surgeon first. 

Leland Deane, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Getting a tattoo after surgery?

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This is a very good question. Any procedure that breaks the skin has the potential for creating an infection. An infection in any part of your body could allow bacteria to travel through your blood stream to the healing areas of your Mommy Make Over and create an infection. If you have a breast implant placed as a part of your Mommy Make Over it is even a greater risk. The implant is a foreign body and does not have the capacity to ward off an infectious process. If you develop an infection in your implant pocket, very likely your implant would need to be removed in order to allow proper healing. It would be best for you to either have the tattoo a few weeks before your surgery to allow for complete healing or wait 12 weeks after your operation to make sure you are well healed from your Mommy Make Over. Good luck

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 133 reviews

Wait two weeks.

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Even though the tattoo you want to get is on your wrist and not anywhere near the operative incisions for your mommy makeover, it is important to separate the two time wise.In general we like at least a month after any surgery before a tattoo so that wounds are sealed and most of the early healing has happened before making a new “injury” with the tattoo.In the particular incidence of a mommy makeover with an implant the time actually needs to be longer. The problem with a tattoo is that tattooing needles penetrate the skin, and can potentially introduce bacteria into the skin or even into the blood stream and set up for an infection.Before 2 months the tissue around the implant is still in the process of healing, and it has not yet built up a scar tissue barrier around itself.Bacteria in the blood stream can get into the space around the implant and set up for or “seed” the area with infection.During that time any invasive procedures (like dental cleanings, elective surgeries, and colonoscopy) need to be avoided.If infections would get started around the implant it is very hard to treat and can sometimes make it necessary to remove the implant to get you healthy again.The best bet is to wait until 2 months after your mommy makeover to get your tattoo to avoid these problems.The other possibility is have your tattoo soon, and as long as it is completely healed before your surgery, then it will not cause any trouble.I would recommend at least 2 weeks before your mommy makeover to be certain you don’t have any problems that would cause you to have to delay your surgery or take unnecessary risks.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.