Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal is an effective method for erasing unwanted or regrettable ink. A number of different lasers can be used during treatment although Q-switched lasers are most common as they can deliver short bursts of high intensity energy to break up tattoo pigment.
Laser Tattoo Removal
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
The decision to have a tattoo removed can be caused by a number of reasons from dissatisfaction with the artistry to wanting to appear more professional. If covering up the tattoo with more ink is not a viable option, laser removal may be more suitable. Laser tattoo removal is typically a gradual treatment, with improvement seen over the course of 2-10 sessions. A number of different lasers may be used for treatment, all with the same goal of breaking down larger pigment particles of the tattoo for the body to naturally eliminate via the lymphatic system. Depending on the colors used in the tattoo, several laser frequencies may need to be used for the specific pigment to respond to the laser energy. Popular lasers for tattoo removal include Picosure and Enlighten. Depending on the pain tolerance of the patient, no anesthetic may be applied, an oral sedative may be used, topical anesthetic may be applied, or simple ice packs used to numb the treatment area. Next, the laser will be held near the skin, deliver short pulses of laser energy to the skin. The treated skin will temporarily take on a frosted appearance. Some patients may experience some bleeding during the treatment session as well. Once the entire tattoo has been treated, a soothing ointment may be applied and the tattoo bandaged. Once the tattoo is healed after several weeks, successive treatments will typically be needed to completely remove the tattoo.
The goal of laser tattoo removal is to remove unwanted tattoos both black ink and color.
What to Expect
Laser tattoo removal is an effective method for erasing unwanted or regrettable ink. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after a laser tattoo removal treatment.
- No special measures need to be taken before treatment
- Stop smoking 4 weeks before and after
- Avoid sun exposure 4 weeks before and after
- Topical anesthetic may be applied
- Laser applied to treatment area
- Ointment applied after treatment
- Skin wrapped in protective bandages
Recovery from a laser tattoo removal session will typically take 2 weeks. It is expected for patients to experience some bruising and swelling with crusting and scabbing developing 8-72 hours after treatment. The treated areas may be pale or pink after the scabs separate, and temporary pigment loss may occur in the treated areas.
The ideal candidate for tattoo removal will be in overall good health, have fairer skin, and an older tattoo that is less dense in color. However, most tattoos can be treated with laser tattoo removal.
Not Recommended For
Laser tattoo removal is not recommended for candidates with a history of skin hyper-sensitivity, scarring (keloids), or skin infections. People with darker skin tones are at more risk for hyper-pigmentation than those with lighter skins.
Side effects from laser tattoo removal can include blisters, scabbing, scarring, swelling, discomfort, itching, skin discoloration, infection, and muscle soreness.