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A practice among some primitive cultures regarded as a precursor of acupuncture. The oldest known medical tattoo was found on Otzi, a 5000-year-old mummy found in the Tyrolean Alps, on whom a series of lines appeared on skin overlying vertebral joints which had severe arthritis.
(1) Any cosmetic procedure that is used to simulate natural pigmentation of the skin and meant to hide hypopigmented areas, as occur in vitiligo or scars, by placing dots of pigment in a hypopigmented area, or to simulate a tissue that was excised for medical reasons (e.g., the areola, the original of which was removed during mastectomy, in particular for Paget’s disease of the nipple).
(2) Cosmetic tattoo, see there.
A tattoo that conveys medical information about the wearer—e.g., penicillin allergy, blood group, etc.—which is of particular importance in preventing anaphylactic reactions or need for a special therapy.