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So, you’ve finally made the decision to get rid of that unwanted tattoo – and about time! Whether you’re worried about the impression it could give to future employers, you’ve outgrown it, or just don’t want the constant reminder of a permanent mark on your skin, Mark Bishara MD at The Paragon Medspa can help. Want to know how?
Laser Tattoo Removal – How Does it Work?
The procedure itself is mildly painful here’s how it works: the laser produces short pulses of light which pass effortlessly through the top layers of your skin to be absorbed by the tattoo pigment. The energy produced by the laser causes the tattoo pigment to break up into smaller particles which are then removed by your own body’s immune system – cool, huh?
Much research has gone into which wavelengths of light are most effective in delivering the laser’s output to remove tattoos, and this is done without risk to the surrounding skin.
Black is the easiest color to remove, as black pigment absorbs all laser wavelengths. Colors hardest to remove, for example, green, selectively absorb laser light, meaning they can only be treated by selected lasers based on the correct pigment color.
Once the pulses of light target the affected area and break up the pigment of the tattoo, the body’s scavenger cells are left to their own devices to remove pigment residues over the following few weeks.
Does it Hurt?
Unfortunately, laser tattoo removal can hurt, but if you’ve already gone through the procedure of having a tattoo, you won’t be a stranger to the discomfort involved. The laser can feel similar to getting your skin snapped by a rubber band – it varies from person to person.
When preparing for laser tattoo removal, doctors usually recommend taking non-aspirin products (such as Tylenol) which are generally used for minor aches and pains, prior to the treatment being carried out. This is because aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (for example, Ibuprofen) can cause bruising on the affected areas after treatment.
Anaesthetic cream may also be applied one hour before the laser tattoo removal session, and must be wiped off immediately before the laser surgery begins. Another option for this is to have a local anaesthetic injected into your tattoo before the laser therapy.
How Long Does it Take?
Although the procedure only takes a matter of minutes, usually more than one treatment is needed to remove an entire tattoo, depends on the amount and type of ink, and how deeply it was injected. Treatments are usually carried out over three-week intervals to allow for the pigment residue to be absorbed by the body.
Side Affects
These are rare in laser tattoo removal, but can include hyperpigmentation, or an abundance of color around the treatment area. There’s only a 5 per cent chance of permanent scarring, and a small risk of infection following treatment.
After your treatment, an antibacterial ointment and dressing is placed onto the area, which you should keep clean with continued application of ointment when necessary. It’s okay to wash (shower or bath) after the treatment, but do not scrub the area. Skin may feel sensitive, almost like sunburn, for a couple of days after the laser treatment, and the area may remain red for a few weeks.
Trust an Expert
An expert in laser tattoo removal, Dr Bishara is one of the nation’s most respected suppliers of cosmetic and laser surgeries, serving areas including Dallas, Arlington, Mansfield, and Forth Worth. With his help, you could make the first steps to getting rid of that unwanted tattoo, today!
Mark A Bishara, M.D., P.A. Medical Director
The Paragon Plastic Surgery & Med Spa