Indian Journal of Endocrine Surgery and Research
Volume 17 | Issue 2 | Year 2022

Tattooing for Thyroid Disorders: Will it Help it the Knife Happy Endocrine Surgeons?

Spandana Jagannath1, Sabaretnam Mayilvaganan2, Sarah Idrees3

1–3Department of Endocrine Surgery, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Corresponding Author: Sabaretnam Mayilvaganan, Department of Endocrine Surgery, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, Phone: +91 9655851510, e-mail:

How to cite this article: Jagannath S, Mayilvaganan S, Idrees S. Tattooing for Thyroid Disorders: Will it Help it the Knife Happy Endocrine Surgeons? Indian J Endoc Surg Res 2022;17(2):75–76.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: Dr. Sabaretnam Mayilvaganan is associated as Associate Editor of this journal and this manuscript was subjected to this journal’s standard review procedures, with this peer review handled independently of the Editor-in-Chief and his research group.

Received on: 21 November 2022; Accepted on: 22 November 2022; Published on: 30 December 2022

Keywords: Endocrine surgery, Euthyroid, Thyroid.

A tattoo is a form of body modification made by inserting tattoo ink, dyes, or pigments into the dermis layer of the skin to form a specific design either indelible or temporary. Tattoos may be decorative, symbolic, or pictorial. The word tattoo or tattow is a loan word for Samoan word tatau meaning “to strike”. Goiter has been treated using various methods including seaweeds tattooing, and other native techniques. After tattooing, patients are counseled for decreases in the size of the thyroid nodule gradually by the native doctors. Once the nodule size does not decrease, some patients and relatives decide on other modalities of management, including endocrine surgery.13

Our patient was a gentleman 35-year-old literate who had tattooing at the age of 27 years, since the tattoo (Figs 1 and 2) did not yield the desired result, he consulted us. His fine-needle aspiration cytology was follicular neoplasm, his TIRADS score was TIRADS 4, and he was euthyroid. He underwent an eventful hemithyroidectomy. We have experience of operating 10 cases of thyroid nodules with tattooing. The skin incision if it passes over the tattoo, then there can be more bleeding than with the usual skin incision. The subcutaneous tissues which are tattooed have chronic inflammation, can be friable, and can bleed. We recommended dissection away from this tissue. In huge goiters where tattooing is usually done, the subcutaneous tissues and platysma should be meticulously handled. We recommended two drains, one in the thyroid bed and one drain over the straps in the subcutaneous plane, to avoid collection post-operatively and for adequate wound healing.

Fig. 1: Thyroid nodule with tatooing

Fig. 2: Three-point triangular tattoo for thyroid disorders


Sabaretnam Mayilvaganan


1. Dutta D, Mukhopadhyay S. Tattooing as a therapy for goiter. Thyroid Research and Practice. 2015;12(2):83. DOI: 10.4103/0973-0354.153340.

2. Bharani T, Reddy SV, Singh D, et al. Tattooing as alternative therapy for goiter. World J Endocrine Surg 2013;2(2):103–104. DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10002-1032.

3. Cohen PR. Tattoo-associated viral infections: A review. Clin, Cosmet Investig Dermatol 2021;14:1529–1540. DOI: 10.2147/CCID.S284796.

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