What is laser Tattoo Removal?
Laser tattoo removal is the process of using laser light to break up the ink in a tattoo so that your body will absorb it naturally over time. The laser energy is applied in small microbursts that penetrate the outer skin layers and target the tattoo ink. The ink shatters into small particles that are then carried away by your bodys immune system. The laser bursts also will break up cells that contain large amounts of ink. These dying cells will be carried away with the ink fragments. After several weeks you will observe your tattoo fading. Each time an area is treated, the laser penetrates the top layer of ink. Eventually, all layers of the tattoo will be treated and the entire tattoo will be removed.
What are other methods are available for Tattoo Removal?
Before laser tattoo removal became the most popular and effective form of tattoo removal, removal involved the use of one or more of these often-painful, often scar-inducing surgeries.
Dermabrasion: The process of sanding the skin to remove the surface and middle layers.
Cryosurgery: The process of freezing the skin prior to the removal of the tattoo.
Excision: With this process, a drmatologic surgeon removes the tattoo with a scalpel and closes the wound with stitches. In some cases involving large tattoos, a skin graft from another part of the body may be necessary.
Although the the procedures above are still used in certain cases today, laser tattoo removal has become the standard treatment for tattoo removal because it offers a bloodless, low risk, effective alternative with minimal side effects. Each procedure is done on an outpatient basis in a single or series of visits. Unlike the alternatives, lasers can effectively remove tattoos with a low risk of scarring. Green Bay Laser Center uses most newest and most effective type laser on the market today, the Q-switched Nd:Yag Laser. The YAG system is particularly advanced in the removal of red, blue and black inks.
What to expect?
The unfortunate thing about tattoos is that both getting them and having them removed can be uncomfortable. The impact of the energy from the laser’s powerful pulse of light has been described as being snapped on the skin with a rubber band.
In preparation for a laser procedure, we recommend that non-aspirin products, like Tylenol, be used for minor aches and pains prior to the procedure. Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen can produce bruising after treatment.
Prior to treatment the client will complete a breif medical history questionaire and sign a consent form. The CLS will photograph your tattoo which will be stored with the client’s file to monitor the progression of the process. Next the skin will be prepped and the client will be given eye protection to wear during the process. Before we treat the area we cool the overlying skin with our Zimmer Cryo 5 skin cooler resulting in an anesthesia effect. This will be continued during the entire process. The entire treatment process usually averages about 15 to 20 minutes. Following treatment the CLS will apply an antibacterial ointment and dressing to the area. You will be given written post treatment instructions and discuss the scheduling of your next appointment. The area should remain covered for 6 to 8 hours. It is ok to shower the day following the treatment, the treated area should not be scrubbed. Your skin might fell slightly sunburned for a couple of days and the treated area may remain red for a few weeks. The site might also form a scab, which should not be picked or scratched. After healing the tattoo will gradually and continually fade for the next 4 to 6 weeks. Side effects of laser tattoo removal are generally few but may include hyper-Pigmentation, or an abundance of color in the skin at the treatment site, and hypo pigmentation, where the treated area lacks normal skin color. Other possible side effects include infection of treated area, lack of complete pigment removal and a 5 percent chance of permanent scarring.
Progression Photos of a Tattoo Removal
Above Left: Tribal Tattoo Before | Above Right: Tribal Tattoo 2 Treatments
Below Left: Tribal Tattoo 4 Treatments | Below Right: Tattoo Removal 7 Treatments