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30 May 2020
FITTER. BETTER. HAPPIER.
Image via Pxhere/Victor Tangermann

Paramedical Tattoos: Ink Artists’ Latest Innovation to Aid Body Trauma

"It really made me have a different outlook on life."
by Dan Robitzski / February 17 2020

Instead of expensive or risky cosmetic surgeries, people are taking a new approach to covering up injuries: “paramedical” tattoos.

Tattoo artists have offered post-mastectomy tattoos to breast cancer survivors for years. Now, artists have started expanding outward to other medical procedures, The New York Times reports. A man who lost two fingertips in a workplace got fingernails tattooed on. A woman with severe dog bites on her face had them camouflaged with flesh-colored ink rather than corrected with surgery.

“I went to plastic surgeons that were supposed to be the best in Memphis,” the woman, a dog breeder named Leslie Pollan, told the NYT. “They gave me no hope, so I started looking for other options.”

Instead, she found a tattoo artist who could mask her scars, a process she found crucial to emotional healing and restoring her self-confidence after her injury.

“You don’t understand until you’ve been through it,” Ms. Pollan said. “It really made me have a different outlook on life.”

Her tattoo artist, Eric Catalano, offers this sort of restorative, paramedical tattoo for free, financing them through his more conventional work and a crowdfunding campaign that brought him $12,000, the NYT reports.

“Financially it doesn’t make sense, but it’s just something that I love to do,” Catalano told the NYT. “Every time I see that emotion, I’m 100 percent sure this is something that I can’t stop doing.”

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