If you’re considering getting a tattoo and plastic surgery, you may be wondering, “Is it safe to get a tattoo before plastic surgery?” The answer depends on a few factors, such as the location of the tattoo and the location of the plastic surgery. For example, perhaps you’re planning to get rhinoplasty (a nose job) and a tattoo on your foot, two locations that are far away from each other.
Or, perhaps you want to get a breast augmentation, but you also want a tattoo of a pretty butterfly on your breast. Should you get the tattoo before the surgery? Should you wait to get the tattoo until after surgery? If you should hold off on the tattoo, how long do you have to wait?
If the tattoo will be far away from the surgery site, a tattoo is generally considered safe; however, we recommend getting the surgery first and getting the tattoo after you’ve healed from the surgery. Why? Because, having a tattoo and surgery around the same time places additional stress on your immune system. When you get the tattoo after you’ve recovered from the surgery, it promotes the best healing.
When Can I Get a Tattoo First?
If you get a tattoo and have the plastic surgery done months later, that’s fine as long as the tattoo is not near your surgery site. Just be aware that if you get a tattoo on your stomach, but are planning on getting a tummy tuck, the surgery could compromise your tattoo. Essentially, if you plan to have a tattoo and surgery on the same body part, it’s best to hold off on the tattoo until after you’ve healed from the surgery. This way, your tattoo won’t be ruined.
Say you want to get a tattoo on your back on Saturday, but you have a breast augmentation scheduled for the following Thursday. You’re hoping to have them both done in the same week so you only have “one” recovery. If that’s the case, we don’t recommend getting the tattoo until you’ve spoken with a board-certified plastic surgeon. The main issue is the possibility of the tattoo becoming infected. For that reason alone, we sometimes suggest patients wait until after surgery to get their tattoos.