Lasers are the treatment of choice for removal of tattoos on the skin of any body area. The Q-switched lasers including the Q switched Alexandrite or Nd-Yag are utilized to break up the pigment particles in tattoos resulting in gradual clearing. Multiple sessions are required. How fast a tattoo clears depends on the several factors including the colors, depth and age of the tattoo.
Decorative tattoos have a history dating back at least 5000 years. The desire to remove them has probably existed just as long. Early attempts to remove tattoos have had less than desirable results. The use of dermabrasion, salabrasion and Argon or CO2 lasers have left behind scars in place of the tattoo. The advent of Q-Switched lasers has permitted the removal of most tattoo inks with a very low risk of scarring. The Nd:YAG laser is the newest system in this class of lasers. This laser can significantly lighten or remove many tattoo inks, and is particularly advanced in the removal of blue, black and red inks.
The number of treatments required to remove a tattoo depends upon several factors including size, location, the individual’s healing process, how the tattoo was applied, and length of time it has been on the skin.
A tattoo performed by a more experienced tattoo artist, for example, may be easier to remove since the pigment is evenly injected in the same level of the skin. A tattoo that has been on the skin for a considerable length of time may be more difficult to remove than a new one.
In recent times, many physicians consider laser surgery one of the best methods of tattoo removal . Today, the Q-switched Nd:Yag is among the most frequently used lasers today for the removal of unwanted tattoos. If necessary, a cream to numb the skin can be applied prior to the treatment. Pulses of light from the laser are directed onto the tattoo breaking up the tattoo pigment. Over the next several weeks the body’s scavenger cells remove the treated pigmented areas. More then one treatment is usually necessary to remove all of the tattoo.