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Do you Know of Any Other Way to Remove a Tat That Doesn't Cost So Much Money?

she want's to go in the Army but has a tat on her right hand

Doctor Answers (2)

The Infrared Coagulator (IRC) Is A ​Low Cost Method Of Tattoo Removal For Small Tattoos

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It may be fairly easy to get a tattoo applied, but it’s safe to say, it’s much harder to get one removed, and, for that matter, much more expensive. Prior to the introduction of light-based therapies, a variety of procedures were used for getting rid of them. These included dermabrasion, salabrasion, cryotherapy, chemical peeling, surgical excision and light-based therapies.

Lasers and other light therapy devices, such as the Infrared Coagulater (IRC), are the treatments of choice today. Lasers work by emitting short, intense pulses of light that pass through the skin and target the ink. The energy from the laser light fragments the large particles of tattoo pigment enabling the body’s natural immune system to more easily scavenge the pigment and carry it away. This process usually takes several weeks, and multiple treatment sessions are often necessary to achieve maximal clearing.

Without knowing the specifics, I can only make some general comment.  Black pigment absorbs all wavelengths of light and is ironically the easiest pigment to remove. Colors, such as green, do not absorb as well, and sometimes a variety of lasers, with varying wavelengths, are needed to effectively treat a multicolored tattoo.

Potential complications include permanent scarring, temporary or permanent loss of pigment or excessive pigmentation. Fees for laser treatments may range from $1000-$3000 or more, depending upon the number of treatment sessions required, and the size, shape, colors, and location of the particular tattoo.

IRC which is a low-cost, relatively inexpensive treatment, and one that I have been using succesfully for years, employs a non-laser infrared light to heat the area containing the pigment. It is quick and easy to perform, and generally requires fewer treatments than lasers. Most small tattoos can be treated successfully in one to three sessions. IRC’s efficacy also does not depend upon the particular color of the pigments involved. For these reasons, it is my favorite method for dealing with small tattoos.

The procedure is quick and simple. The area is first numbed with local anesthesia. Next, very short pulses of infrared light are directed at the tattoo in a gridlike fashion, leaving tiny spaces between each treated site. Since each burst of energy is just a fraction of second, an entire treatment session requires only a few minutes to complete. It is within the course of the next few weeks, as he wound heals, that the pigment is extruded.

To complete the removal, the intervening spaces are generally treated between two to four weeks later. As with laser treatments, potential complications include scarring and temporary or permanent pigmentary changes. Most people, however, are quite gratified and relieved to be free finally of their tattoos.


New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Theres no better way to remove a tattoo than laser

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Theres no better or safer way to remove a tattoo other than laser, unless the tattoo is so small that it can be cut out by a plastic surgeon with a resultant scar . Tattoos are meant to be permanent, Technology to safely remove them is extremely expensive for the physician to buy and maintain. In Maryland, patient safety regulations require a license (RN, PA, or MD) to perform laser tattoo removal. All of these factors make removal of a tattoo far more costly than getting it.

At MD Laser, Skin & Vein Institute, we do offer a discount for those committed to the military.

Margaret Weiss, MD
Baltimore Dermatologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.