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Endoscopic Tattooing

Endoscopic Tattoos - The Tattoo You’ll Never Regret

By GI Supply on March, 7 2018
GI Supply

According to a 2015 Harris Poll, roughly 29% of Americans have at least one tattoo. Nearly one fourth (23%) of those with tattoos say they regret getting one. This March, to support National Colorectal Awareness Month, we’re sharing (and raising awareness of) a tattoo you will never regret, Spot® Ex Endoscopic Tattoo.

Endoscopic tattooing has proven to be an invaluable tool in colon cancer management and while other tattoos may inspire trepidation, fear, and eventual remorse, the endoscopic tattoo is the one that you will never regret.

This month, colorectal cancer advocates across the country and around the world will work to build awareness of the disease and its impact. To support the effort, GI Supply will also be giving away free temporary tattoos on that day and throughout the month to help doctors spread the word about colon cancer prevention.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer in 2018 and gastroenterologists are facing the challenge of catching the disease early with proper surveillance. Earlier this year, we were proud to introduce the latest tool in the fight against colorectal cancer, Spot Ex Endoscopic Tattoo.

Just like a trip to the tattoo parlor, there can be plenty of questions about endoscopic tattoos. Here are some of the most common:

What is an endoscopic tattoo and who should get one?

Tattooing precancerous polyps plays a very important role in colorectal surveillance and patient care. Endoscopic tattooing ensures that a polyp can later be found easily in subsequent screenings or for surgery.

Marking a cancer identified during a colonoscopy will help the surgeon locate and remove the cancer. Other times, the gastroenterologist or surgeon will remove a large polyp through the scope but want to be able to go back and re-examine the area during a follow-up exam.

The American Cancer Society recommends that starting at age 50, men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should be regularly screened for colorectal cancer.

Why should you tattoo?

By localizing lesions with clear, permanent tattoo marks, colon resection surgery and follow-up surveillance can be fast and easy. When a surgeon cannot locate a lesion during surgery, the potential risks include:

  • Longer surgical times while the surgeon attempts to locate the lesions
  • Additional procedures because the surgeon must go back to find the lesions
  • The need for the surgeon to change from a laparoscopic to an open procedure
  • The need for the surgeon to do an intraoperative colonoscopy
  • Wrong site surgery. The potential for the surgeon to remove the wrong section of bowel

Endoscopic Tattooing is also society-recommended including the American College of Gastroenterology, the British Society of Gastroenterology, and the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons. Spot Ex has new expanded indications that support the ESGE’s updated clinical guidelines.1

When should a patient get an endoscopic tattoo?

Research surrounding when to tattoo is a swiftly growing subject area, so there’s no precise answer, but a few guidelines to consider:

Endoscopic tattooing post-polypectomy is important to check for residual polyp tissue at interval screenings, as residual polyp tissue is sometimes left behind.

Even if a lesion looks like it will be easy to find later on for surgical localization or clinical surveillance, the anatomy of the bowel can create imprecise measurements for procedure reports, so it is recommended that all suspicious lesions be tattooed.

Never regret it.

Patients, surgeons, and gastroenterologists all benefit from having suspicious lesions that will need future endoscopic procedures to be tattooed, and these tattoos will last. Spot Ex is permanent and much darker than its precursor Spot®. In 121 follow-up exams of patients previously tattooed with Spot, 100% were visible—up to 11 years later.3

According to the American Cancer Society, the risk of developing colorectal cancer is about one in 22 for men and one in 24 for women. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. (excluding skin cancers), but like most cancers, it’s not a topic that many like to discuss.

Help spread the word and continue the conversation this National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by sharing the Tattoo You’ll Never Regret (use the hashtag #TheTattooYoullNeverRegret) and learn more about Spot® Ex here: 

Learn More About Spot Ex

And don't miss our easy-to-reference infographic to help spread the word about the tattoo you’ll never regret. Get your copy here:

Get the Infographic


1 - Ferlitsch M, Moss A, Hassan C, et al. Colorectal polypectomy and endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR): ESGE Clinical Guideline. 2017.
2 - Pohl, Heiko, et al. “Incomplete Polyp Resection During Colonoscopy—€”Results of the Complete Adenoma Resection (CARE) Study.” Gastroenterology, vol. 144, no. 1, 2013.
3 - Jackson FW. Long-Term Visibility of Endoscopic Tattoos Using Sterile Carbon Suspension In A Prefilled Syringe. Am J Gastroenterol 2017; 112:S1–S45
* Maximum 2 packs of 25 per tattoo type per order

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