Body art has become common and mainstream. Tattoos and body piercings represent highly individual expressions of identity and personal values. Health care services are enhanced when clinicians understand the anatomy and physiology, common discomforts, and real but rare serious risks of body modification and are prepared to provide compassionate support for individuals' choices. Special consideration must be given to the needs of childbearing women. By opening channels of communication, clinicians can engage with clients in shared decision making to help those who possess or desire body art take steps to reduce the risk of adverse effects and obtain prompt and effective medical care when problems arise. Through respectful discussion of existing body art, the therapeutic relationship is strengthened, and greater insight into an individual's health needs may be achieved.
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