Cosmetic medical lasers vaporize ink fragments in the tattoo, causing them to fragment and the body to absorb them naturally. A quarter-sized tattoo can take as little as 3-5 minutes to treat, but a minimum of approximately 8-10 repeat treatments will probably be necessary. Due to their complexity, color schemes, and depth, professional tattoos will be harder to remove than the homemade variety.
At Derma Laser Centers, we offer the new Victory 8 Dual Q-Switched laser for tattoo removal. This particular machine is used because the results are superior when compared to traditional machines. The Q-Switched laser is quick pulsed, and it has the capability of dissolving tattoo ink without destroying the skin, thus no scars. This laser targets tattoo ink and rapidly heats it, causing the ink to expand and break up into smaller particles. The body is able to then absorb the small ink fragments and carry them away. After each treatment, the laser fragments more ink and penetrates a little deeper into the skin. Blistering and scabbing may follow a tattoo removal session. Taking care of the treated area is the most important factor in removing a tattoo without a scar; post laser treatment will determine the success rate.
A good candidate for tattoo removal has medium to fair skin, with dark but not dense ink (black/brown). The preferred locations are the arm, chest, buttocks, or any place with good circulation. Medium or fair skinned patients react well to the treatment because the light will be able to selectively target the ink. Some tattoos disappear in one treatment, and others requiring 12 or more treatments for complete removal. Dr. El-Attar cannot regulate the speed of the fading process. For best result, it has been proven that the treating doctor must act conservatively rather that aggressively, to allow the surrounding tissue to relax in the weeks following the treatment.
Non-professional tattoos can usually be treated with 1-4 treatments and professional tattoos can usually be treated with 6-10 treatments, however only the treating physician can determine how many treatments are needed to successfully remove any tattoo. Most of our patients describe the treatment as “the slight snapping of a rubber band against their skin.” This can be eased with the application of a topical numbing cream and almost all patients are able to resume normal activities immediately following the treatment. Unlike surgical treatments, there is no downtime, and the only restriction is the area cannot be exposed directly to the sun for one week.