Decorative tattoos have a history dating back at least 5000 years. The desire to remove them has probably existed for just as long. Early attempts at tattoo removal have had less than desirable results. Dermabrasion, salabrasion and Argon or C02 lasers have left behind scars in place of the tattoo. The advent of Q switched pulsed lasers has made tattoo removal a far more effective procedure, permitting the removal of most tattoo inks with a very low risk of scarring. The Medlite Q switched Nd:YAG laser is the newest system in this class of lasers. The Q switched pulsed laser can significantly lighten or remove many tattoo inks. It is particularly advanced in the removal of blue, black and red inks. The Q switched pulsed laser removes tattoo ink with the energy of light. Just as natural sunlight is made up of light wavelengths of many colours, a laser is designed to produce one or more specific wavelengths of light. These wavelengths are either absorbed, reflected or simply passed through objects.
The laser emits light in very short flashes of light called pulses. The impact of the energy from this powerful pulse of light is similar to the snap of a thin rubber band. A large majority of patients do not require anaesthesia.
Usually there will be pinpoint bleeding associated with tattoo removal treatment. An antibacterial ointment and dressing is applied. The treated area should be kept clean with continued application of the ointment given to you by your physician. A shower can be taken the next day, although the treated areas should not be scrubbed. Tattoo ink is removed by using a specific wavelength which passes through the skin but is absorbed by the ink. The rapid absorption of light energy causes the tattoo ink to destruct, where it is then removed by the body’s natural filtering systems. The Q switched pulsed laser also delivers the light in very short, high intensity pulses for maximum ink destruction. The use of this specific combination of wavelength and rapidly pulsed light for tattoo removal results in minimal damage to the skin while removing maximum possible amount of ink.
In many cases, yes. Greater than 95% fading of the tattoo may be accomplished. However it is very important to know that over 100 tattoo inks are in use worldwide today, none of which are regulated by the FDA. Not knowing which tattoo ink, how deep or how much was used, makes it impossible for the physician to predict the degree of tattoo removal in any given case.
No. Dark (blue/black) inks and red inks fade the best. Oranges and purples usually respond well. Green and yellow inks are the most difficult to remove, although additional treatments can produce significant fading.
On average, professional tattoos require 5-6 treatments, while amateur tattoos may require 3-4 treatments. Each treatment should be spaced approximately one month apart. The number of tattoo removal treatments depends on the amount and type of ink in the skin. Rarely, more than ten treatments may be needed.