Glenohumeral Joint Sepsis after Joint Injection through a New Tattoo

by Science Editor

After investigation into the cause of a Propionibacterium acnes septic arthritis in a shoulder found that the likely cause was an  injection through a 5 day old tattoo that has seeded the joint with an infection.

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Glenohumeral Joint Sepsis after Joint Injection through a New Tattoo.

Abstract: A case of Propionibacterium acnes septic arthritis of a shoulder following two joint access procedures. Methodical investigation of these two procedures was performed using the Joint Commission root cause analysis matrix, which involved examination of protocols, interviews with technologists and physicians, and inspection of the procedure rooms and equipment. No procedural error or other causal factor for infection was found other than the injection through a five day-old tattoo during the first procedure. We could find no other reported cases of Propionibacterium acnes seeding a joint via an arthrogram needle. This may be an under-reported phenomenon or could be a unique case. In either instance, the occurrence bears notice by anyone performing joint access procedures.
Industry Significance Rating:

Medium - Industry wide monitoring is recommended.


Journal of Radiology Case Reports - 30/11/2017.

Authors: Becker R, Haight S.
Links:  Article Link Link to Publisher Pdf Link Search Google
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Post tattooing there is a risk of localised inflammation and opportunistic skin flora may gain entry via penetrations created in the epidermal barrier by the tattoo needle. Invasive medical procedures in the same location as recent tattooing may be complicated by additional risks particularly during the standard healing period of 4-6 weeks post tattooing.


It is advisable for clients who are scheduled for any invasive medical procedure postpone any planned tattooing in or around that location in accordance with the treating doctors medical advice regarding waiting periods.


Scientific Report,  infection, joint sepsis, arthritis, arthrogram, skin flora


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