Sometimes a patient wishes to remove an old or a recent tattoo for personal, social or business reasons. Formerly used aggressive methods to remove tattoos, such as dermabrasion or surgery frequently leave unaesthetic scars. Today, Q-switched laser allow us to permanently remove the vast majority of tattoos with virtually no remaining signals. To select the ideal Q-switched laser and correct intensity or laser fluency to remove a tattoo, both the skin phototype of the patient as well as the color of the ink used to get the tattoo, must be taken into account. Q-switched laser selectively acts on ink particles that color the tattoo, without damaging the surrounding tissues. Q-Switched laser fragments the ink particles into much smaller ones that can be more easily eliminated by our own phagocytic system.
Depending on the age of the tattoo, the amount and types of colors, and whether it is a professional or amateur tattoo, we will need less or more sessions to get a complete removal of the tattoo. This means that, to determine the approximate number of treatment needed to complete tattoo removal, an individual study must be done for each patient. For example, amateur tattoos sometimes have inks at different depths, which can increase the number of sessions needed to remove them. On the contrary, at times, an amateur tattoo is easier to remove, and with 2 or 3 sessions may be sufficient. Unlike the black and dark blue colors, which are the easiest to remove, there are other more complicated to remove, such as white, yellow or light blue. Therefore, the mixture of different light and dark inks for a final color, can make tattoo removal more difficult.
Sessions of Q-switched laser are performed approximately every 6 weeks, after applying a topical anesthetic cream. The results can be seen from the first session. It is always recommended to avoid sun exposure before and after treatment.