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Tattoo Removal

Valerie D. Callender MD | Callender Dermatology & Cosmetic Center | Glenn Dale, MD
Many people have second thoughts about their tattoos. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with your decision forever. Highly precise lasers can lighten or remove your tattoo by focusing or pulsing light on the ink particles, which then convert the energy to heat and break up into tiny pieces that are absorbed harmlessly by the body. All this can be accomplished without damaging the surrounding tissue.

Candidates for Laser Tattoo Removal


Ideal candidates for laser tattoo removal are typically fair-skinned individuals whose tattoos are on areas with a greater concentration of body fat, such as the arms, legs, buttocks or chest. Laser tattoo removal may not be as effective on areas with minimal body fat, as well as on dark-skinned individuals. It is important for patients to have realistic expectations and discuss their desires and concerns with Dr. Callender.

Laser Tattoo Removal Procedure


Before the laser tattoo removal procedure begins, you will be given a shield to protect your eyes from the laser. The tattoo removal specialist will then test your skin’s response to the laser to determine the most effective approach. A probe will then be triggered against your tattoo, and pulses are sent from the laser onto your tattoo. Some patients may experience moderate discomfort, so it is recommended that you take acetaminophen (Tylenol) a few hours beforehand. Each laser tattoo removal session lasts only a few minutes.

Recovery from Laser Tattoo Removal


At the end of each laser tattoo removal session, ice will be applied to the tattoo for about 30 minutes. After that, a topical antibiotic and bandage will be applied to the area. Patients are advised to keep the skin around the tattoo area dry and to treat the area as if it were sunburned.

Results of Laser Tattoo Removal


Depending on the complexity of an individual’s tattoo, the results of laser tattoo removal may vary. Individuals with simple tattoos may be rid of their tattoo within four treatment sessions, while more complicated tattoos may require ten or more treatment sessions. Laser tattoo removal is the most effective method of removing tattoos with minimal risks.

Side Effects of Laser Tattoo Removal


There are certain side effects associated with laser tattoo removal, although they rarely occur. These side effects may include hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. Infection, a sunburned appearance, or permanent scarring may also occur. Most people, however, achieve successful results from laser tattoo removal and experience no side effects.


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