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Report describes malignant melanoma that developed on a pigmented skin lesion within a tattoo underlying laser removal

A case report from Germany describes a young man who developed on a pre-existing nevus ( known as a mole or birthmark) within a tattoo during and between the phases of , according to a report by Laura Pohl, M.D., of Laserklinik Karlsruhe, Germany, and colleagues.

“Pigmented lesions in decorative tattoos cause diagnostic difficulties at a clinical and dermoscopic level. In cases of of tattoos, hidden suspicious nevi may be revealed gradually,” the researchers stated.

In the case study, the researchers describe a malignant melanoma that developed on a preexisting nevus within a tattoo during and between the phases of laser removal. According to the authors, 16 other cases have been reported in the English literature of malignant melanoma developing in tattoos. Dermoscopic assessments on a regular basis during the period of are recommended.

“If any question about malignancy arises, we suggest an excision before treatment. In general, tattoos should never be placed on pigmented lesions; if they are, the tattoos should never be treated by laser,” the authors conclude.


JAMA Dermatol. Published July 31, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.4901.

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JAMA Dermatology