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Complications resulting from body modification methods, although not common, are discussed to provide the pediatrician with management information.

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Archeologists have found evidence of tattoos, piercings, and scarification as far back as 2000 BC, when they were largely used as a form of art or to identify group membership, such as a religious group or tribe.The report analyzes the literature about societal acceptance of people with body modifications and perceptions that might potentially interfere with adolescents’ and young adults’ educational and career plans.Finally, guidance is provided to pediatricians and, through the pediatrician, to parents and adolescents and young adults about safety and regulations regarding body modification should they wish to obtain tattoos, piercings, or scarification.Public opinion of the relationship between having a tattoo and deviant behavior is changing.In 2008, among those with and without tattoos, 29% believed that people with tattoos were more likely to do something most people consider deviant, whereas 24% believed this in 2012.Surveys of the US population have shown an increase in the prevalence of tattoos over time.

Among those with a tattoo, most (86%) have never regretted getting one, and 30% said it makes them feel sexier.

A survey conducted among college freshmen from Italy found that many students undergoing tattooing and/or piercing were unaware of the associated health risks.

Although most (60%) students knew about HIV-related risks, less than half knew about possible infection with hepatitis C (38%), hepatitis B (34%), tetanus (34%), or about noninfectious complications (28%).

Although in the past, body modification was often associated with adolescent high-risk behaviors, current data have not consistently reported this association.

In a retrospective analysis from 2007 to 2008, tattoos were associated with alcohol and drug use, violence and weapons carrying, sexual activity, eating disorders, and suicide.

Other feelings attributed to having a tattoo included feeling rebellious (25%), attractive or strong (21%), spiritual (16%), healthier (9%), more intelligent (8%), and athletic (5%).