Many people decide to get a tattoo at a young age, not realizing just how permanent they are. Not long ago removing a tattoo without a scar was very unlikely. Today, however, advances in laser medicine now make tattoo removal possible.
Removing a tattoo requires a special type of laser that can emit short wavelength light beams in extremely short pulses. By doing so the laser delivers high intensity light to the treated area without damaging the surrounding tissue. The color in the tattoo absorbs the light and begins to break up the ink. The broken up ink dissolves into smaller ink packets that are harmlessly removed by the body’s immune system. The result is a fading process that requires multiple treatments to completely remove the tattoo. Often the treatments require the use of different lasers to remove the various colors of the tattoo. While the depth, color, and location of the tattoo on your body are all determining factors in how quickly a tattoo can be removed, it usually takes between 6-10 treatments. Treatments are not painful and require minimal aftercare at home for several days, generally requiring the application of antibiotic ointment to keep the treated area moist. Most patients return to work or continue with their busy schedule immediately after a treatment.
State-of-the-art technology has made it possible to remove tattoos and return your skin to its natural, youthful appearance.
Is it painful?
By cooling the skin prior, during, and after treatment most patients do not find this procedure painful, although in some cases there might be a minimum amount of discomfort. The feeling has often been described as being snapped by a rubber band on your skin. Topical anesthetic cream is usually applied 45 minutes to an hour prior to the procedure.
Are there any special skin care procedures I must follow after being treated for tattoo removal?
We recommend the frequent use of an antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin, to keep the treated area moist. The area may be covered with gauze, if necessary, to keep the ointment from getting onto clothing. The area is cleaned with a gentle cleanser, provided by LaserMed, and dabbed dry before the antibiotic application. Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 25 is required if the treated area will be sun exposed.
How long do I have to wait between procedures?
In most cases patients may schedule treatment sessions 5-6 weeks apart. This leaves sufficient time for the skin around the treated area to recover, so that additional treatments don’t damage the skin.
Does the process cause scarring?
Because we use the state-of-the-art technology in laser medicine, designed for tattoo removal, scarring is rarely a problem, particularly if the patient follows the recommended post treatment care. In some cases it has been noted where slight hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation might occur around the treatment area, but this usually resolves itself over time.
Will the tattoo be removed completely?
Usually, the tattoo can be completely removed. Factors such as depth, density, type and color of ink play a large role in the tattoo completely disappearing. Each treatment session we apply the laser beam a little deeper into the tattoo. This causes the ink to fragment a little more each session. Sometimes this will be accompanied by a slight blistering or scabbing that might persist for about a week, but eventually with enough treatments and proper post treatment care the tattoo will completely disappear.
How much does it cost?
Charges are based upon the size of the area, the number of colors involved, and the number of sessions required. Generally a tattoo about 3 inches in diameter done in blue or black ink will cost about $300 per session. It usually takes 5-8 treatments or more for complete resolution. LaserMed Skin & Vein Clinic also offers Care Credit Patient Payment plans.