How Animated Tattoos Work

Is It Safe?

An X-ray of a PVSI
An X-ray of a PVSI

There is no doubt that animated tattoos are really cool, but before you run out and get one there are a few things to consider. First and foremost it is currently illegal to give or get animated tattoos. Beyond that there are safety concerns. Jacob Schlieb of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons had this to say about animated tattoos: "If you are performing an elective surgery without a medical license then you are in violation of the law. That's the bottom line. Beyond that there are dozens of reasons not to perform these procedures and certainly more reasons not to have it done. This technology has not been subject to any sort of monitored, scientific or medical trials. We don't know if it's safe to have these appliances implanted in the skin...they could result in any number of health problems." Schlieb continues, "...that's not even touching on how insanely negligent and dangerous it is to have this procedure done by persons with no medical training, without proper facilities or sterilization. This is tantamount to back-alley surgery."

Singer and Pinter are reluctant to discuss the safety issues associated with animated tattoos. Pinter muses, "Hey dude, we're here for a good time, not for a long time," to which Singer replies, "Please shut up, Carl."

The pair claims to have performed "almost 60" PSVI procedures with "no complications or complaints." They don't deny the potential for risk, but claim they have taken every precaution. Singer elaborates, "It's really expensive. I'm not going to say how much but it's in line with buying a big-screen TV or a nice riding lawn mower...and it's not like we advertise. If you want one you have to find us first. If you find us, you have the cash, and you check out, we'll load you up with one of the implants. But if you went through all of that you must really want one, so you're taking responsibility for your own safety. Nobody makes you get an animated tattoo."

Singer dodged specific questions about particular dangers associated with animated tattoos, but Pinter did say, "We don't really talk about the batteries a lot. If anything in this contraption is gonna make you balloon out with hundreds of tumors it's gonna be that battery rig. But we don't really know for sure. That's not going in the article, is it?"

Of course not, Carl.

For lots more information on animated tattoos, regular tattoos and related topics, check out the links below.

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More Great Links


  • Singer, Jay Sean and Carl A. Pinter. Personal Interview. March 17, 2006.
  • United States Patent Office. Patent 5,638, 832: Programmable subcutaneous visible implant, June 7, 1995. HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d= PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN%2F5638832