Are you or someone you know having second thoughts about a tattoo? You are not alone. Every day thousands of people live with this permanent reminder of a temporary feeling. But now you have options.
Above you will see photos showing a seven-treatment tattoo removal process. These are original photos and there is no retouching. This is an actual patient of Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin.
What are my options?
Several methods of tattoo removal exist including surgical excision, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Unfortunately, these methods are variably effective and carry a significant risk of permanent scarring. The Q-Switched Alexandrite TriVantage laser is the safest and most effective method of tattoo removal. It is the “gold standard” option that can virtually “erase” a tattoo for many. The Candela TriVantage laser used at Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin is the only laser of its kind in Northeast Wisconsin.
Which colors can be treated?
Through the use of a special attachment piece, we are able to treat virtually any color. The only color that can not be treated by this laser or any other laser is white.
Does it hurt and what are the side effects?
While there is some stinging involved, most patients feel that it is equivalent to a rubber band snap. Afterwards there is normally redness that can last up to a few days, and some tenderness which patients say is about equal to that of a sunburn. For some who have large tattoos or are uncomfortable with treatment, topical anesthetic gels or injected local anesthetic can be used. Unusually, a slight temporary or permanent lightening (or less commonly darkening) of the skin can occur. Very rarely the pigment can cause an allergic type reaction in which small hard balls of inflammation form. These risks are very uncommon and the vast majority of patients are extremely happy with the result.
How does the laser work and how many treatments are needed?
The Q-Switched laser provides a burst of energy that is absorbed by the pigment of a tattoo and breaks it into tiny fragments allowing white blood cells, the body’s natural cleaning system, to much more rapidly “chew up” the pigment and bring it away from the skin.
How many treatments are required largely depends on the density of the pigment and how long it has been since the tattooing was performed. For example, a home tattoo made with India ink may be nearly clear after only 3-4 treatments while a dense tattoo applied in the last few months may take 8-12 treatments to show significant clearing. For most patients, seeing dramatic results after 5-10 treatments is typical. Treatments are spaced about 4-6 weeks apart to maximally allow the body to absorb the pigment. Most treatments last less than 15 minutes, with some smaller tattoos taking as little as 5 minutes to complete.