A tattoo is a marking made by inserting ink into the skin to change the pigment for decorative purposes or for other reasons. There are generally 4 types of tattoos. Decorative tattoos which are the most common and are placed with various types and qualities of design and color throughout the body. Cosmetic tattoos are used as a type of permanent makeup. Medical tattoos which are often used to mark areas of treatment or used in reconstruction of tissue. And lastly, traumatic tattoos which result from trauma induced insertion of foreign material into the skin such as gravel or gunpowder.
Tattoos are considered permanent, although it is possible to remove them with laser treatments, fully or partially. Typically, black and darker colored inks can be removed more completely. The expense and pain of removing tattoos will typically be greater than the expense and pain of applying them. The standard of care today involves the use of several laser treatments, which can range from 4-12 treatments. Dr Frank uses several technologies including the Medlite Nd:Yag, Tattoo removal Laser and the Fraxel Repair to remove them. The success of tattoo removal depends strongly on the color of the skin, the color and quality of the tattoo, and the age of the tattoo. Because of the variations that exist, the success rate and number of treatments vary considerably. A consultation with Dr Frank will help determine the appropriate course of action and the expectations for potential removal.
Tattoo Removal FAQs
What are the procedures used for tattoo removal?
Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank uses procedures such as the Medlite Nd: Yag laser.
Are these procedures painful?
All these procedures are different types of laser technologies that can remove tattoos effectively and safely. The pain experienced will be little more than the process of getting a tattoo. A topical anesthesia is used to make these procedures more comfortable.
How many sessions do I have to undergo for complete tattoo removal?
Permanent tattoos can be removed partially or fully. Dr. Frank recommends 4 to 12 sessions to remove the tattoo completely from the skin. The rate of success will depend on the quality, age, and color of the tattoo and also your skin color. According to the individual variations, the success of the treatment also varies. Since older tattoos will be bonded to the skin, it will require additional treatments. Large tattoos and multi-colored tattoos also require more sessions to obtain desired results. Dr. Frank will discuss with you the expected results by evaluating the tattoo and your skin.
How do tattoo removal procedures work?
Tattoo removal lasers produce short pulses of light that go through the top skin layers. These light pulses are absorbed by the pigments in the tattoo which will break into pieces after laser application. To break the pigments, the laser heats the pigments at a maximum of 1650ºF resulting with a pain slightly greater than the tattooing process.
What will happen after the tattoo removal procedure?
Blisters, swelling, crusting, bleeding, or scabbing will occur on the treated area after the procedure. When the heat of the laser is applied on the skin, the water content of the skin that surrounds the ink of the tattoo boils and creates these side effects.
Is it possible to remove all the tattoo colors?
Lasers can remove black ink effectively. Colored inks such as red, purple, blue, green, and orange are responding well to the lasers. Yellow ink is less responsive to lasers, whereas turquoise has a variable response to the treatment.
How soon can I expect to see the results of tattoo removal?
The tattoo will fade gradually within 6 to 8 weeks after the procedure because the immune system of the body will take time to clean the broken particles of the ink. The fading of ink will take place up to 2 months after the procedure.
What should be the time difference between sessions?
Treatments should have a gap of at least eight weeks to obtain the best possible results. The gap between the treatments is not for the healing process. Laser only breaks down the ink and the ink is expelled out of the body by the immune system, which requires time. If the laser is used to treat the tattoo frequently, then it will target the ink that is already broken down and the body will not have enough time to remove the ink.
What preparations must be done before the tattoo removal?
The patient should avoid taking Ibuprofen, Aleve, Motrin, or Aspirin products a few days before the procedure. You can also shave the targeted area, if the doctor requires.
What care should be taken after the tattoo removal treatment?
The patient can resume normal activities immediately after the treatment. You should not rub or scratch the area treated and should cover it from sunlight. Ice can be applied on the treated area at regular intervals. Avoid activities such as swimming, exercising, saunas, or steam rooms. It is recommended to moisturize twice a day. Never pick the scabs or blisters to avoid scarring and infection on the treated area.
Who can be considered as an ideal candidate for tattoo removal?
Any person who would like to remove an unwanted tattoo is considered an ideal candidate. But patients with certain medical conditions should not undergo tattoo removal procedures. If you are pregnant, have lupus, are using Retin A, Accutane, or St. John’s Wort, then you should not have tattoo removal. Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank will evaluate your medical history before considering you for treatment.
Does scarring occur after the treatment?
The risk of scarring after treatment is very low as long as the area is not picked at.
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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is solely for educational purposes and is solely the opinion of Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, which may differ from other medical professionals.
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