Tattoos can give us a lot of satisfaction, but fashions and our tastes change over the years and tattoos may be more permanent than we would like.
What kind of laser is used?
We use the Lutronic Spectra, a modern Q-switched laser. It is specially designed for tattoo removal and can remove all colors of tattoo ink. Q-switched laser technology has been around since the early years of cosmetic lasers and is reliable and well understood.
The new “picosecond” lasers are heavily promoted, but the treatments are more expensive due to the complicated technology used. We do not believe that pico lasers are a good value for most people at this time.
How does laser tattoo removal work?
Q-switching is a molecular mechanism within the laser crystal that generates a laser beam that pulses extremely rapidly, every few billionths of a second. The wavelength of the laser beam is matched to the color of the tattoo ink, so that only the ink absorbs the light without damaging the surrounding skin. The laser beam creates a microscopic gas bubble that moves so fast and under such great pressure that the tattoo ink is shattered into minute fragments. Over a period of a few weeks the body’s scavenger cells engulf these particles and are eliminated from the body via the circulatory system.
Does the laser remove all ink colors?
Can the laser be used on all skin colors?
Yes. The risk of pigmentation or scarring is higher with dark skin so we need to adjust the laser settings accordingly.
How many sessions are needed, and how long between sessions? How long is each session?
Plan on 12 sessions, although fewer or more may actually be needed. The number of sessions depends on a number of factors: the volume of ink, the depth of the ink below the surface of the skin, the ink color(s), the skin color, the age of the tattoo, the location of the tattoo on the body, and the health of the body’s immune system. The number of sessions cannot be predicted exactly in advance.
6 – 8 weeks between sessions are needed for the body to completely remove ink particles.
A small to medium sized tattoo can be treated in 15 minutes or less.
What are the possible side effects of laser treatment?
Redness and swelling are part of the body’s natural healing response. Crusting is normal; the crust should not be removed. Blistering may occur and normally resolves within days. Hypopigmentation, or loss of skin pigment, is rare and normally resolves within 6 – 12 months.
What care is needed after laser treatment?
Care after treatment is simple but essential to the success of the treatment. Care includes application of burn gel, cleanliness, prevention of infection, and use of sunblock.
Is the treatment painful?
We make every effort to minimize discomfort by using topical anesthetic. The good news is that any pain lasts only for the few minutes that the laser is in use.