Tattooing has grown significantly in popularity over that last 10 years. And when that many people want them on, there are a growing number that want them off. Tattoos are created by injecting colored pigment into small deep holes made in the skin. When people subsequently want their tattoos removed, most physicians today consider laser treatment one of the best methods. The Q-switched laser is the most frequently used laser for tattoo removal by physicians. This laser treatment is based on the interaction of specific wavelengths of high intensity light and the pigment of the tattoo. The laser light will break up the areas of pigment into small pieces that can be absorbed by the body resulting in areas of clearing.
The laser light is absorbed mainly by the tattoo pigment, minimizing damage to normal surrounding structures. The end result depends mainly on the amount of pigment and color of the pigment in the tattoo and how deep it penetrates into the skin. Some inks (flesh tone, white, some reds, and some permanent make-up) may darken with laser treatment. Green, red, and yellow ink is not removed as effectively as other ink colors.
One laser treatment is NOT sufficient to achieve total removal of the tattoo. Multiple treatments area ALWAYS required to achieve the desired result. The number of treatment sessions will very depending on the size, color, and location of the tattoo. Homemade tattoos usually required fewer treatments than professional tattoos. Some inks may NOT be removed by this laser or may only be PARTIALY removed. The average number of treatments is 6-10 but each patient results may vary.
Description of Procedure and Post Care:
- Topical and/or local anesthesia will be given
- Eye protection will be worn during procedure
You will feel a warm, brief, snapping sensation. The treated area will become slightly swollen and tender for approximately 48 hours. A blister may also develop. You could use aloe vera gel, cold compresses, antibiotic ointments and/or cortisone ointments to reduce swelling if needed. The lesion will begin to dry out, get darker, and form a darker scab. You MUST NOT pick off these scabs. It is essential to proper healing.
- Redness, swelling, itching, blistering, or discomfort may occur for up to 4-6 weeks after therapy.
- If the scabs are picked off or subbed off too soon, you may have delayed healing with increased pain and increased risk of infection and subsequent scarring.
- Scarring (thickening or thinning of the skin) and/or texture changes are extremely rare but can occur.
- Increased or decreased pigmentation of the skin (hype or hypo-pigmentation)
- Some inks may not be removed at all by this laser or may only be PARTIALLY removed.