Laser Tatoo Removal
Many people choose to have permanent tattoos, but later regret that decision. There are several options for tattoo removal. Compared to more aggressive techniques such as surgical removal or dermabrasion, laser has become treatment of choice.
Can All Tattoos Be Removed?
Unfortunately, not all tattoos can be completely removed. However, majority can be. Tattoos done in the last decade are very difficult to remove due to nature of ink and process of tattooing technology. Even laser removal can leave some residual scarring in some cases.
What Is Laser Tattoo Removal?
Laser Tattoo Removal is a procedure that uses most advanced laser technology to remove tattoos. This procedure is bloodless and there are no incisions. Laser works by producing short pulses of intense light that pass harmlessly trough top layers of the skin. Those pulses of light are absorbed selectively by the tattoo pigment. Laser selectively targets the pigment of the tattoo without damaging the surrounding skin. Energy of the laser causes tattoo pigment to fragment into smaller particles that are then removed trough your body immune system. This way laser will not remove normal skin pigment, as wavelengths of the light in laser pulse are previously determinate.
To complete the procedure and fully remove the tattoo several sessions are needed. After each session body will absorb the broken down ink, during some period of time. This way the tattoo simply fades away, more and more after each session, until it’s completely gone.
Some brighter colors don’t absorb the energy as well, and take some time to break down, but in majority of cases it takes 5 to 15 sessions to remove all traces of the tattoo.
It is not easy to determine how long it may take to break down any individual tattoo. There some important factors that affect the speed of Laser Tattoo Removal process:
- Skin Tone – darker skin tone has less contrast against the ink so it can take longer to completely remove the tattoo.
- Body’s immune system – plays a huge role in breaking down and absorption of the tattoo.
- Colors of inks used on the tattoo – can also speed or slow the process; richer colors such as black, red, deep blue, dark orange will fade quickly, while in cases of bright whites, greens, purples and light blues removal may be slower.
- Quality of the tattoo – professional tattoos use high quality permanent inks and tend to be deeper in the skin, therefore their removal may take longer.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Laser Tattoo Removal?
People with fairer skin and more superficially placed tattoos on the chest, arms, buttocks and legs are the ideal candidates. On dark skinned people, or people with tattoos on ankles, fingers, areas with less body fat, tattoo removal is more difficult and results may vary.
How Should You Prepare for Laser Tattoo Removal?
The initial consultation with your surgeon will require your complete medical history, so you will want to be prepared to provide the necessary information. You must be completely open and honest with your surgeon. If there is any medical problem, you will be referred to a specialist. With all of this information, your surgeon can plan the best procedure for your needs and tell you how to adequately prepare for the procedure by giving you guidelines.
How Is Laser Tattoo Removal Performed?
Once you are properly prepared for the procedure and equipped with protective eyes shields, the skin’s reaction to the laser will be tested in order to determine the most efficient level of energy. Your surgeon will activate the small probe against the tattoo. Treatment will continue with rapid light pulses for the laser and, depending on the size of the tattoo, taking 10 to 30 pulses, during a few minutes (depending on the tattoo), to be completed.
Multiple sessions are required to remove most tattoos. Sessions are usually split over a period of time; 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the tattoo.
Most simple tattoos are removed in 2 to 4 sessions, scheduled around 4 to 8 weeks apart. Removal of complex tattoos may take series of session scheduled around 8 or more weeks apart. Professionally made tattoos usually require 6 to 10 sessions to be completely removed.
Procedure is almost entirely pain free. There can be some minor discomfort. To minimize the pain your surgeon may advise you to use Tylenol a few hours before the procedure. In order to decrease the pain further, local anesthetic ointment may be applied on the tattoo or injected prior to procedure.
What Is Recovery Like After Laser Tattoo Removal?
After each session ice is placed on the tattoo to minimize the swelling. In about 30 minutes, a topical antibiotic ointment and sterile dressing are placed on the tattoo. Treated area should be left dry for a few days and cared for like sunburned skin.
Will the Results of Laser Tattoo Removal Be Permanent?
The results are permanent in nature.
Are There Any Possible Complications From Laser Tattoo Removal?
When surgery is performed by a qualified surgeon, complications are rare and usually minor. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there are potential complications and risks. Your consultation is Key. Your surgeon will spend time discussing these with you during your scheduled consultation. Be sure to bring a list of questions or concerns with you. All patients are instructed to discuss the general surgical risks with their surgeon.
Side Effects of Laser Tattoo Removal are few, but may include hyper pigmentation (excessive color) or hypo pigmentation (excessive fading) of skin, infection or small chance of permanent scarring. Treated area may appear sunburned for some time, but that will pass.