Tattoo Removal Laser (Q-Switched Nd:YAG Revlite®)
It is estimated that close to 10% of the U.S. population has some form of tattoo. Eventually, as many as 50% of them wish to have their tattoos removed. There is good news for those who have unwanted tattoos. Newer laser tattoo removal technologies can eliminate your tattoo with minimal side effects.
How do tattoo removal lasers work?
Lasers remove tattoos by targeting the collections of pigment in the skin with a high-intensity laser pulse which breaks up the pigment into smaller molecules. Your body’s immune system then removes these pigments gradually over time.
How many treatments will I need and how long will it take?
Tattoo removal generally takes several sessions for partial or complete clearing. Professional tattoos require more treatment sessions, while amateur tattoos are usually cleared with fewer sessions. Black tattoos clear with fewer sessions, while colored tattoos require more sessions. On average, 10 treatments are required for complete tattoo removal. The duration of each laser session can vary depending on the size of the treatment area. A minimum of 6-8 weeks is recommended between laser sessions.
Is Tattoo Removal Painful?
The tattoo removal laser pulses feel like rubber band snaps on the skin. Many patients tolerate the procedure well without pain medication. Depending on your pain threshold, your provider may recommend application of a topical numbing cream for 60-90 minutes prior to your tattoo removal laser appointment. You may also elect to have local anesthetic administered to the tattoo removal site immediately prior to your laser procedure.
What can I expect during laser tattoo removal?
The staff will ensure that you wear goggles to protect your eyes. The areas to be treated will be cleansed with antiseptic. The laser handpiece will be placed against the skin and you will experience a series of pulses administered to the skin. Following treatment, a cold compress will be applied to soothe the treated site.
What are possible side effects of tattoo removal laser treatments?
Laser treatment may create a superficial, controlled burn wound. Immediate whitening of the treated area may last several minutes. Blisters and scabs may develop within 24-72 hours which may last 1-2 weeks. Bruising, redness and swelling are common but usually resolve within a few days. Loss of skin pigment in the treated area is common and usually temporary.
What are possible complications of tattoo removal laser treatments?
Dark or light discoloration of the skin and unevenness of skin color will typically fade within 3-6 months, but can be permanent. Scarring (thickening or thinning of the skin) and/or texture changes can occur. Permanent hair loss is possible. Results are variable and can range from no perceptible improvement to dramatic improvement. Certain red, pink and skin colored pigments (especially cosmetic/camouflage tatotoos) may immediately turn black with laser treatment; therefore, cosmetic tattoos that are red, pink or skin-colored should not be lasered.
Can tattoos be removed completely?
Near or complete clearance of tattoos can be accomplished with several laser sessions in many cases. The degree of fading with each session depends on a number of factors including skin complexion, the technique used to create the tattoo and the type of tattoo pigment used. Bright colored tattoos with multiple colors are the most difficult to fade, typically require more sessions and may not clear completely.
Is Tattoo removal safe?
With the newer laser technologies available, tattoo removal carries far fewer side effects and risks of scarring and discoloration than in the past. If your provider is uncertain about the risks of treatment with your particular tattoo, he or she may recommend a test spot to assess safety and efficacy before proceeding with a full laser session.
Where do I begin?
Feel free to call the office to schedule a consultation with one of our providers who can determine whether you would be a good candidate for laser tattoo removal.