Dr. Green
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Tattooing has become so popular such that, just considering college students, 20% have one. However, many who have been adorned with a tattoo, eventually, decide to have it removed. In the past few years, the request for tattoo removal has become quite common. For those wishing to have their tattoo removed, that decision can be made months to decades after it has been applied. Fortunately, with the use of medical lasers, the removal of a tattoo can be safely accomplished, usually with minimal, if any, evidence of any remaining tattoo or scarring. Dr Green has treated tattoos for more than 20 years and has educated other physicians on laser removal of tattoos locally, nationally and internationally.

How are lasers used to remove tattoos?
A beam of laser light is directed through the skin into the tattoo. The absorbed light disrupts - and promotes the removal of the ink.

Why is laser light used?
Lasers have been demonstrated to be the most effective method to remove a tattoo because they make it possible to target specific ink colors. That's because each laser emits light of only one wavelength (i.e., color) - and each emitted wavelength is specifically absorbed by only one ink color. By selecting different lasers, it is possible to target and remove the different colors of ink that comprise the tattoo.

Which type of laser does Dr Green use?
The VersaPulse®, a FDA approved laser, is used because it provides several different wavelengths of light. These different wavelengths are able to treat the commonly encountered tattoo colors including blue, black, green, red and yellow. Most other colors that are present in tattoos consist of combinations of these inks and are, also, effectively treated with the VersaPulse®.

What will my skin look like after treatment?
Immediately after tattoo removal treatment the skin will be somewhat red and swollen, sometimes with pinpoint erosions, similar to its appearance at the time that the tattoo was placed. The skin heals in a few days to a few of weeks. Lightening of the tattoo is seen at that time and usually continues weeks, or longer, after a treatment.

How many treatments are required and how often are they administered?
Usually more than one treatment is required to lighten or eliminate a tattoo. This depends upon a number of factors including: the colors within the tattoo; the quantity of ink used; the age of the tattoo; the location of the tattoo; and the complexion of the overlying skin, among other factors. Treatments are usually scheduled at intervals of 8 weeks.

Does the ink color affect the ease of tattoo removal?
Yes. In general, black ink is the easiest color to remove - requiring the fewest number of treatments - while green ink is the most difficult color ink to remove - requiring the most number of treatments.

Does skin color affect the ease of tattoo removal?
Yes. Light skin is the easiest complexion for ink removal - requiring the fewest number of treatments - while dark skin requires more treatments. If the skin is too dark it may not be possible to completely remove the tattoo. In addition, dark skin is more likely associated with scarring or alteration in skin color after laser treatment, compared to light skin.

Are there any restrictions in activity after treatment?
All activities may be resumed immediately after treatment, including swimming, weight-lifting and aerobics. However, after treatment, specific skin care guidelines are recommended that promote healing.

Is treatment considered safe?
Yes. The VersaPulse® laser is FDA approved specifically for tattoo removal. The laser light emitted includes visible and infrared light wavelengths, which are considered safe and are not associated with skin cancer or other undesirable changes.

What do I feel during treatment?

There is discomfort associated with laser tattoo removal, the extent of which varies individually. In general, it is more uncomfortable having a tattoo removed than having it placed. To reduce discomfort, a topical anesthetic cream can be applied prior to treatment or a local anesthetic can be administered. After a local anesthetic is administered, the procedure is painless. After treatment there is usually minimal, if any, discomfort experienced.

Can a tattoo be completely removed?
Usually, all of the ink can be removed. Sometimes very faint pigmentation remains due to residual ink in the skin. However, if some ink remains, after the last treatment, it tends to fade spontaneously over time.

Are side effects possible after tattoo removal?
Although uncommon, after the skin has healed, side effects of treatment can be observed. Side effects may include alteration in skin color and skin texture that, although mild, can be permanent. In general, the fewer the number of treatments required to remove the tattoo the lower the incidence of these side effects. Tattoos consisting of only black ink require fewer treatments than multi-colored tattoos; flat tattoos require fewer treatments than tattoos that are raised; tattoos in fair complected individuals require fewer treatments than in those who are dark complected. A raised tattoo (one in which the skin is not smooth but, instead, can be palpated) usually indicates that scarring is already present simply as a result of the placement of ink. Under that circumstance, even if all of the ink is removed, the skin will still be raised compared to the adjacent normal skin.

How can I learn more about removal of my tattoo?
If you are interested in laser tattoo removal, you would need to schedule a consultation so that your tattoo and skin could be examined. At that time, more specific information could be provided about the number of treatments that will be required for tattoo removal.

Do you have a question?
You may E-mail your questions to us at: rejuvenate@laserderm.net

Schedule an appointment:
You can schedule an appointment for a consultation by calling the office at: (401) 974-6444