If you are one of the many people that have regretted a tattoo you have gotten in the past, Laser Tattoo Removal might be an option for you. I will describe for you the surgical procedure, the success rate and things that you should expect when going in for this laser treatment.
Are you a good candidate for Laser Tattoo Removal?
If you have fair skin and your tattoos are located on your arms, legs or chest, you will likely be a perfect candidate. On the other hand, if you are dark skinned and the placement of your tattoos is on your ankles or fingers, the results are not very good.
How good are my chances of my tattoo being removed?
Complete tattoo removal is based on several factors: the size, location, your ability to heal, and how long you have had the tattoo are all contributing factors. Newer tattoos are generally more difficult to remove due to the inks tattoo artists are using these days.
How are lasers used to remove tattoos?
Lasers work by directing their action on the ink with a highly concentrated ray of colored light beams. This laser beam breaks up the ink particles into tiny fragments which are later cleared up by the body’s scavenging cells. This process of fragmenting the ink particles requires numerous sessions depending on the depth of the ink level. The most simple tattoos usually require 2-4 sessions, while larger and/or deeper tattoos will require 4-8 sessions. The procedure is bloodless and no incisions are made. The laser selectively targets the pigment of the tattoo without damaging the surrounding skin.
What happens after each session?
After each laser session, ice is immediately placed on the tattoo to minimize the swelling. Soon thereafter a topical antibiotic ointment is placed on the tattoo, followed by a sterile dressing. The skin site should be left dry for a few days.
How long does the procedure take?
Laser Tattoo Removal usually does not take more than a few minutes. But remember, multiple sessions are required to remove most tattoos. The multiple sessions are split over 4-8 weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the tattoo.
Does Laser Tattoo Removal hurt?
Unfortunately, tattoos are painful when they are placed on the skin and they are just as painful when they are removed. The laser’s pulse generates rapid pulses which feel like a needle sting. To minimize the pain, the physician will recommend taking Tylenol a few hours before the procedure. Aspirin like products are not recommended because they have a tendency to increase the bruising. To further decrease the pain, the physician may apply a local anesthetic ointment on the tattoo a few hours before the procedure. In some cases, the physician may inject a local anesthetic into the tattoo before the procedure.
What are the possible side effects of this procedure?
Side effects of Laser Tattoo Removal are generally few but may include excessive color and/or excessive fading of the skin. Other possible side effects include infection and a small chance of permanent scarring. The area may appear like a sun burn for a few months and ultimately the skin will become normal.
How much will this procedure cost?
Laser Tattoo Removal is much more expensive then tattoo placement and is not covered by medical insurance plans. Laser Tattoo Removal can range from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending upon the size, type and location of the tattoo and the number of sessions required.
I highly stress that because laser surgery is a medical procedure inherent with all the possible complications, it is recommended that one go and see a professional physician who is experienced and understands the procedure. Find a reputable dermatologist or cosmetic surgery center to ensure proper treatment and care. If possible, you should obtain a recommendation from your family physician for a physician who specializes in Laser Tattoo Removal.