Tattoos are still very popular in today’s society. However, years after the tattoo has been in place, many individuals choose to have it removed. This process used to be painful and tedious, but with today’s newer technologies, tattoo removal is safe, painless and effective. Oklahoma City board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Clinton Webster, uses the PicoWay laser system for his patients desiring laser tattoo removal. This advanced laser technology uses light energy to absorb ink fragment from the tattoo, which allows the tattoo to fade naturally over time. Multiple sessions are almost always required, but the tattoo removal is safe and quick, and does not leave a scar.
To begin the removal process, the tattoo is cleaned. Emitting laser or pulsed light, the laser hand piece glides over the surface of the tattoo. The size and color of the tattoo determine the length of treatment time. A tattoo the size of a quarter would take approximately 3-5 minutes to treat. Some patients request a topical anesthetic cream to minimize the stinging effect of the laser. Many patients tolerate treatment without topical anesthetic, and report the treatment as feeling similar to light rubber band snaps. An ointment is applied following treatment to keep the area moist, and then it is covered with a protective dressing.
Some patients experienced redness, swelling, tenderness, crusting, sunburn sensation, or itching immediately following treatment. The plastic surgeon will discuss the treatment plan, and explain what can be expected from your treatment.
Size, color, location and the age of the tattoo determine the number of treatments necessary to effectively remove the tattoo. During the consultation, the treatment regimen will be reviewed and any questions regarding the number of estimated sessions will be provided at that time.
The results and appearance of the tattoo vary from patient to patient. After each treatment session patients will see the tattoo become lighter. Due to the various types of inks used in tattooing, the results and the number of treatments may vary. Typically, multiple treatments (anywhere from 2 to15) will be required and are scheduled 4 to 7 weeks apart.
While laser tattoo removal is the safest and quickest option to keep patients’ skin intact, there are other treatment options. Patients can also choose surgical excision, chemical peels and traditional dermabrasion. These treatment options are invasive treatment methods that often result in scarring.