Tattoos used to be perceived as a lifetime commitment. That’s no longer the case. The use of specific laser energy is changing the way we deal with tattoos that no longer reflect a person’s personality.
What is tattoo removal?
Tattoo removal is the term given to various processes used to eliminate the particles of ink beneath the skin. There are several methods of tattoo removal, including creams, dermabrasion, and laser treatment. By far, the use of lasers is deemed safer and more effective than other methods.
What Lasers Are Used for Tattoo Removal?
Dr. Behr uses the PicoSure laser and RevLite Laser which is the latest technology for tattoo removal. PicoSure’s PressureWave™ gently delivers ultra-short pulses of energy to the tattoo ink in trillionths of a second without injury to the surrounding skin. This shatters the ink into tiny particles that are easily eliminated by the body.
PicoSure has proven efficacy on difficult ink colors, as well as previously-treated tattoos, for better clearance with fewer laser treatments and improved recovery time.
How is laser tattoo removal performed?
Laser tattoo removal is performed as a series of treatments. During each appointment, you will wear a pair of protective eye shields. At your first appointment, we will treat a small area with the laser to see how your skin reacts and to determine the best device setting to achieve the desired outcome. Then, the laser handpiece is passed over the tattoo, emitting pulses of intense light for absorption beneath the skin.
Ink particles are foreign bodies beneath the epidermis. Naturally, the body tries to destroy most foreign objects by sending white blood cells to attack them. This doesn’t happen with tattoos because larger ink particles are deposited beneath the skin and they are too substantial for white blood cells to destroy them.
When short pulses of laser light penetrate the epidermis, the energy that comes into contact with ink particles breaks them down into smaller debris. White blood cells are then able to pick up the smaller bits of ink and carry them to the liver where they can be flushed away with other matter. Lasers shatter the particles into smaller pieces for more effective removal by the body.
Is it possible to remove only a portion of a tattoo?
Many people seek tattoo removal to eliminate one aspect of a piece, such as a name. The accuracy of laser devices has improved so significantly over time that it may be possible to remove certain parts of a tattoo. However, the laser may lighten pigment around the unwanted ink, as well. This can be corrected with a tattoo touch-up.
Can I retattoo the area once the original tattoo is removed?
Laser tattoo removal works by breaking ink particles down to a size at which they can be eliminated naturally. Once the ink has completely faded, the skin can receive new pigments to fill in the now-vacant space.
Tattoo Removal Cost
Cost per treatment depends on size of tattoo. Treatments generally start at $250.00 per session. Packages are available as well and will be discussed in detail at time of your consultation. Contact us today to schedule your tattoo removal consultation!
How many tattoo removal treatments Will I Need?
This is a difficult question because there are many factors we do not have answers to that affect how quickly a tattoo can be removed. These include the types of ink used, the color of ink, the amount of ink used and the depth of ink placement. Homemade and traumatic tattoos are usually more quickly removed. We estimate to start with at least 6 treatments, but it may take more.
Tattoo Removal Side Effects
Most common side effects with tattoo removal are mild swelling, small blisters, and peeling. If a blister larger than the size of a pencil eraser forms, please come into the office for evaluation.
The following week after tattoo removal treatment is critical in the healing process. Proper care for the tattoo is crucial or scarring/infection may occur. You will be sent home with pre and post-treatment instructions at time of consultation, and at time of your first treatment.
Preparing for laser tattoo removal
No tanned skin (artificial included) two weeks prior to the treated area. The tattoo must be at least 4-6 weeks old and completely healed prior to treating.
What Are My Pain Management Options For Laser Treatment?
Topical anesthesia is applied to the treatment area one hour prior to treatment. This will ensure that the area is numb prior to treatment to reduce pain.
Laser Tattoo Removal Recovery
Recovery can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks after treatment, depending on the area being treated. The farther away from the heart (legs, ankles, feet), the longer it can take to heal due to less circulation.
Risks of tattoo removal
Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), and hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin) and scarring are possible complications of the procedure. Sun exposure, as well as not adhering to post-treatment instructions provided may increase chances of complications.
Schedule a Consultation
Do you want to find out if you are a good candidate for a tattoo removal procedure? Call our office in Fresno CA to schedule a consultation at (559) 435-7546. Kathleen L. Behr, MD serves Fresno and surrounding areas in California.