Dermatography (medical tattooing) is often overlooked as an adjuvant procedure to improve color mismatch in the head and neck area, and its effect on patient satisfaction and quality of life has not been evaluated, to our knowledge.
To analyze the effect of dermatography on the subjective perception of the appearance of scars and skin grafts and the quality of life in head and neck patients.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Case series of patients undergoing dermatography at the Netherlands Cancer Institute–Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, between July 1, 2007, and April 1, 2015. Participants were invited to respond to 2 questionnaires measuring their scar or graft appearance and their quality of life before and after dermatography as an adjuvant treatment for benign or malignant head and neck tumors.
Use of dermatography.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Two questionnaires evaluating a visual analog scale score (range, 0-10) and multiple questions on a 5-point scale focusing on satisfaction with the appearance and the quality of life.
Among 76 patients, 56 (74%) were included in the study. The mean (SD) age of the study cohort was 56.5 (16.0) years, and 42 (75%) were female. The mean improvement in scar or skin graft perception on the visual analog scale of the modified Utrecht Questionnaire for Outcome Assessment in Aesthetic Rhinoplasty before and after dermatography was 4 points. On the modified Patient Scar Assessment Questionnaire, uniform improvement of approximately 1 point across 9 questions was observed. The answers to all patient satisfaction and quality-of-life questions on both questionnaires improved significantly after dermatography.
Conclusions and Relevance
Dermatography is an effectual adjuvant procedure to improve the subjective perception of scar and skin graft appearance and the quality of life in head and neck patients.
Level of Evidence
Drost BH, van de Langenberg R, Manusama OR, Janssens AS, Sikorska K, Zuur CL, Klop WMC, Lohuis PJFM. Dermatography (Medical Tattooing) for Scars and Skin Grafts in Head and Neck Patients to Improve Appearance and Quality of Life. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. Published online September 22, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2016.1084