Tattoo Removal

Tattoo Removal is now available with laser technology.

Getting rid of unwanted tattoos used to be an impossible task. Now laser technology has made the impossible not only possible, but simple safe and effective.

How Laser Tattoo Removal Works?

A concentrated beam of light passes harmlessly through the outer layer of skin, focusing on the tattoo’s ink instead of skin cells. The ink is super-heated by the laser, causing it to fragment into tiny particles of pigment that no longer have the ability to remain in place. The body’s lymphatic system carries the resultant particles away from the tattoo site, thereby eliminating the color that formed the tattoo. This procedure is gentle enough to leave the patient with minimal scarring or changes in skin pigmentation.

Not all types of tattoos will respond well to laser treatments. Some colors will take more treatments than others, though in general most tattoos can be effectively treated. The chemical composition of the ink as well as the tattoo’s depth beneath the skin and age of the tattoo can also affect the efficacy of the laser. The ink colors that are most readily easily treated are red, black, dark blue, brown, and yellow. Some colors, like sky blue, turquoise, purple and green, can be treated with moderate success, although incomplete resolution is a high risk.

Because the laser focuses on the tattoo ink rather than skin tissue, patient discomfort is minimal. The slight pain associated with the heat caused by the laser has been compared to an insect sting or the “snap” of a rubber band. A local anesthetic and a cooling device can be used at the patient’s request.

Most treatments take anywhere from ten to thirty minutes at a time, depending on the size and location of the tattoo. If the tattoo is very faint, it may disappear after one treatment, though most tattoos take five or more treatments to fade completely. The treatments are generally scheduled six to eight weeks apart to allow the body enough time to fully eliminate the pigment fragments.

The Laser Tattoo Removal Procedure

A few hours before the laser tattoo removal procedure begins, it is recommended that acetaminophen be taken to help minimize discomfort. Just before the procedure begins, the patient is given a shield to protect his or her eyes from the laser. A topical anesthetic is applied to the skin; in some instances, a cooling system is used before, during and after the procedure to help with discomfort. The tattoo removal specialist then tests the skin's response to the laser to determine the most effective approach, and intense nanosecond pulses are sent from the Q-switched laser to the skin.

Each laser tattoo removal session lasts only a few minutes and, at the end of each session, the tattoo is iced for about 30 minutes. A topical antibiotic and a bandage are then applied. Patients are advised to keep the skin around the tattooed area dry, and to treat it as if it were sunburned.

Results and Risks of Laser Tattoo Removal

Depending on the complexity of the tattoo, removal results vary. Simple tattoos may be eliminated within four treatment sessions, while more complicated tattoos might require ten or more. Although they rarely occur, there are certain side effects associated with laser tattoo removal. They include hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, infection and permanent scarring.

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