Arch Craniofac Surg.  2020 Oct;21(5):315-318. 10.7181/acfs.2020.00346.

Staged excision of basal cell carcinoma arising from a tattooed eyebrow

  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Konkuk University Chungju Hospital, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Chungju, Korea


Side effects of tattoos can occur due to unexpected body responses. Concerns about the side effects of tattoos are growing concomitantly with the increasing number of tattooed individuals. We report a rare case of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) on a tattooed eyebrow. A 48-year-old woman with no family history or occupational risk of skin cancer had her eyebrows tattooed 6 years prior, and she noticed a black mass on her right eyebrow 1 year before presentation. Staged excision was planned due to the patient’s reluctance regarding the possibility of a wide scar. After the first surgical procedure, a histopathological examination confirmed BCC. Wide excision and primary closure were performed for remnant BCC, and no recurrence was observed. The mechanism of skin neoplasms involving tattoos has not been clearly identified. Unapproved tattoo inks contain carcinogenic substances, and previous case reports indicate that skin neoplasms may differ depending on the tattoo color. Therefore, the carcinogenic effects of these unknown components of tattoo ink might cause skin neoplasms. Accurate component analysis and systematic management of tattoo ink is necessary, and medical practitioners must also pay attention to this possibility because it is easy to overlook tattoos as a causal factor contributing to cancer.


Basal cell carcinoma; Eyebrow; Tattooing
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