These pigment specific tattoo removal lasers fade or remove tattoo ink with the energy of light. The laser removes the ink by using a specific colour of light that passes through normal skin and is absorbed by the tattoo ink without damaging surrounding tissue. Rapid absorption of laser light energy causes the tattoo pigment to break into smaller granules so it can be removed by the body's natural filtering systems.
Traditional nanosecond lasers predominately rely on photothermal action, delivering heat to the pigment but sparing the surrounding tissue.
A more recent innovation, picosecond lasers generate 1000 times faster than nanosecond lasers resulting in smaller particles of ink.
The laser light pulses produced by the tattoo removal lasers feel similar to being repeatedly flicked by a rubber band. Most people prefer to have medical grade local anaesthetic, which is only available in medical tattoo removal clinics such as Laser Dermatology.
There is no safe method of removing a tattoo in one treatment. All single treatment methods such as infrared coagulation, surgical excision, dermabrasion and acid de-tattooing will damage the skin and leave a scar.
The number of laser tattoo removal treatments will depend on the amount, colour and type of tattoo ink, the depth of tattoo ink into the skin and the method of tattoo application. Most tattoos will require 10 or more treatments to achieve satisfactory fading. Tattoo removal treatments are conducted at six to eight weekly intervals.
Dark blue, black and red tattoo inks usually respond very well to the Q-Switched YAG tattoo removal laser but will require more treatments. Red ink will only respond to the Revlite® SI Q-switched YAG laser. Green and light blue inks respond best to treatment with the Picoway® or Picosure® laser.
The majority of patients treated by laser tattoo removal have not developed any scarring. It is, however, impossible to guarantee that no scarring will occur given the enormous differences between individuals. Some people may experience minor textural change on areas treated by tattoo removal lasers. If you have any evidence that your healing capacity makes you especially prone to bad scarring, please bring this to our attention so a test laser treatment can be carried out on your tattoo.
There may be some pinpoint bleeding with scab or rarely blister formation. An antiseptic dressing must be applied daily until the area is healed. You may bathe normally but we do suggest you minimise vigorous activity for a few days to optimise healing after your laser tattoo removal treatment.
Once you have decided on laser tattoo removal treatment, remember the most important things about our clinic - the expertise of the laser operators and our "state of the art" laser tattoo removal equipment. All our laser therapists are registered nurses who are trained by our resident dermatologist. You may be aware that many "laser" and "IPL" centres are offering tattoo removal, amongst other treatments. Unfortunately, no matter how good the equipment, it will only be as good as its operator. Scarring and changes to skin pigment can result from improperly applied light treatments for tattoo removal treatments.