A patient who gets a tattoo may develop lymphadenopathy in the lymph nodes draining the site.


Risk factors for lymphadenopathy associated with a tattoo:

(1) infection at the tattoo site

(2) allergic or toxic reaction to the pigment used


The presence of the tattoo may not be immediately obvious if the person tries to hide it or has undergone laser removal.


The lymphadenopathy may be misdiagnosed as metastatic cancer if:

(1) the draining lymph nodes also drain the site of a tumor

(2) the patient has malignant melanoma


This underlies the need to carefully examine an enlarged lymph node to determine if cancer is present or not.


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