What is Laser Tattoo Removal?
In the last few years tattoos have become so popular that more than 45 million Americans have at least one, with a large percentage having at least two. At some point however some people eventually want a tattoo removed and many people also decide to “fade” part or all of an old tattoo so that they can replace it with a new one.
With recent advances in more advanced laser technology, specifically the development of Q-switched lasers, tattoo removal has become the most effective, safe method to erase or fade these unwanted tattoos. The results and appearance of the tattoo can vary from patient to patient.
How does the treatment work?
Today, cosmetic medical lasers designed to eradicate tattoos range from a single wavelength of light to a broad spectrum of light, the varieties of which are intended to obliterate the ink in the tattoo without damaging the skin. Certain colors of light are absorbed by specific corresponding colors of the tattoo ink.1be light energy vaporizes or fragments the ink particles. Your body then absorbs these ink fragments naturally and the color fades over the next couple of weeks. This treatment is very similar to methods used for years to treat birthmarks.
What are other removal options?
Laser tattoo removal is the safest, quickest and most likely to leave your skin intact following treatment. Other treatment options are surgical excision, chemical peel and traditional dermabrasion. These various treatment options are invasive treatment methods and often result in scarring.
What are treatments like?
First, the area to be treated is cleansed. Emitting laser or pulsed light, the laser hand device glides over the surface of the tattoo. The size and color of the tattoo determine the length of treatment time. A tattoo roughly the size of a quarter may take approximately 3 to 5 minutes to treat. Some patients request a topical anesthetic cream to be applied prior to treatment, minimizing the stinging effect of the laser or intense light. Many patients tolerate treatment without topical anesthetic, and report the treatment as feeling similar to no more than numerous rubber band snaps. Finally, an ointment and protective dressing are applied to keep the area moist.
How many treatments are required?
Size, color, location and the age of the tattoo determine the number of treatments necessary to effectively complete removal. During the consultation, the tattoo you want treated will be examined and any questions you have will be answered. Be sure to contact your physician if you experience side effects not described during your consultation.
What results can I expect?
The results and appearance of the tattoo vary from patient to patient. After each treatment session you will see the tattoo become lighter. Due to the various levels of professionalism and types of inks used in tattooing, the results and the number of treatments may vary. Typically, multiple treatments will be required and are scheduled 4 to 8 weeks apart.
Are there any possible side effects?
Some patients experienced redness, swelling, renderness, crusting, sunburn sensation, or itching immediately following treatment. Your treatment program will be discussed with you at the time of your consultation. If you experience anything different than that is discussed with you following your treatment, report back to the office for a follow-up visit.
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