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Tattoo Removal

Article-Tattoo Removal

Procedure Description: Because tattoos are placed fairly deeply under the skin, previous removal methods (including excision, dermabrasion, chemical removal, and the earliest lasers) caused unacceptable levels of scarring. Today, newer lasers are more gentle, more effective, and less likely to lead to scarring, making this the treatment of choice for removing tattoos.

The doctor, or an assistant, will cleanse the area on and around the tattoo to remove oils on the skin. During the procedure you’ll feel intense emissions of light penetrate the tattooed area. You’ll hear noise as the laser does its work, both from the machine itself and from the fans that operate continuously to reduce heat in the room and clean the air.

You should expect some pain during the treatment. This is most often described as a burning or stinging sensation. A numbing cream applied to the skin or a local anesthetic injected under the skin can be used to minimize pain.

Length of Procedure: On average, each laser treatment takes from ten to twenty minutes. Several treatments are needed to achieve the desired results.

Recovery: The area may be red, as if mildly sunburned, for several weeks. There may be some bruising, and with deeper tattoos bleeding is not uncommon. The area may be treated with an antibiotic ointment and a bandage applied. Recovery times depend on the extent of the treatment and the individual’s capacity to heal. Redness and sensitivity may continue for several weeks, and there may be discoloration and a change in skin texture in the area, which will gradually improve. You should avoid exposing the treated area to the sun, as this may retard healing. You may not notice significant results until several treatments have been completed.

Risks: With modern lasers, extensive scarring is quite rare, although some changes in skin texture and color are common. The area treated by the laser may become hardened or rough, and the skin may become lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.

Laser treatment can also cause the development of small superficial cysts in the skin. If necessary, these cysts can easily be removed through minor surgery.

Results: After treatment the skin is more uniform and natural in appearance, although some changes in skin texture and color are unavoidable.

Most people are satisfied with the pigment removal achieved through laser treatment. It is important to remember, however, that your skin will never look as it did before you had the tattoo, even though the tattooed pigment has been removed.

The number of treatments will vary depending on the depth and color of the tattoo, but eight to twelve treatments for one tattoo are not uncommon. You must allow at least a month between treatments, so be prepared to commit a substantial amount of time to the process.

Estimated Cost: For laser removal, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, treatment varies from $100 for a small, single-color tattoo with removal in one to two sessions to $500 per treatment to remove larger, multicolored body art in as many as eight visits. And these costs are per session.

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