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Laser Tattoo Surgery -The Most Effective Form Of Tattoo Removal.

Posted on: April 23rd, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of people undergoing laser tattoo removal increased by 43 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Until Laser therapy was available, the only procedures available caused so much trauma to the skin that they left scars just as large and offensive as the original design.

Salabrasion  now considered an out-dated method which involves numbing the area with a local anesthetic then applying a solution of tap water and table salt.

Dermabrasion – a more modern version of salabrasion where a rotary abrasive instrument is used to peel off the pigmented skin.

Tissue Expansion – a procedure where a balloon is placed under the dermis and is slowly inflated.  This stretches the skin and forces cells to divide rapidly.  Then the tattoo is cut out and the new skin is used to cover the excised flesh leaving a linear scar.

Staged Excision – perhaps the most invasive option where the skin is cut into with a scalpel to remove the pigmented sections before the area is closed with stitches.  The technique was more successful on small tattoos as larger ones required a skin graft.

Laser Surgery – the heat generated from the laser beam breaks pigments in the cells of the dermis into small particles effectively breaking down ink without damaging the surrounding skin. Over-time, the pigment is absorbed by the body's immune system.

However there are risks associated with the removal of a tattoo with Laser therapy.

There is a possibility of hyperpigmentation, which is an abundance of color in the skin at the treatment site and /or hypopigmentation, a lack of color at the site, or lightening of the skin.   Although the procedure can be performed on any area of the body, areas such as the feet and hands, where the skin is thinner do carry a greater risk of skin lightening and scaring.

The number of treatments required to remove the tattoo will also vary depending of the size and type of ink and the laser equipment used.  This in turn will have a direct impact on the overall cost to remove the tattoo. 

Time is another factor to consider when wanting a tattoo removed as generally a four to six week healing interval will be required between treatments. Therefore, a large tattoo that requires 12 or more treatments could take up to a year-and-a-half to fully remove.

The color of the ink and the quality of the tattoo also play a role in how effective laser removal can be. Black ink absorbs all laser wavelengths which makes it the easiest to treat. Blue is also fairly easy while green and yellow are the hardest. Generally the older and more faded the tattoo the easier it will be to remove.

The good news is, advances in laser technology is progressing quickly and with that, the number of treatments required to remove the tattoo is becoming less, however, one of the main downsides to having the procedure is that it is still very painful.  But, when you weigh up the pros and cons, laser tattoo removal today is the most proven method in breaking down the ink of an unwanted tattoo.