Butterfly Ankle Tattoo Removal - Atlanta, GA

I have an ankle tattoo of a butterfly (about 1...

I have an ankle tattoo of a butterfly (about 1 square inch). I started laser treatment in August of 2011. I completed five treatments at one clinic through September 2012. After that, I switched clinics and have completed three treatments there (last one was on 4/9/13). So eight total treatments all together. The first clinic used one laser to treat the whole tattoo. The new clinic uses different lasers to treat different colors. They treat the color every other visit (so black one visit, color the next, etc.).

Pain: For me, it feels like razor blades dipped in fire and acid are being slowly dragged across my ankle (not to be too dramatic). I have to give myself a pep talk before going in the clinic doors. There is very little fat in your ankle so I think that makes it even worse. Did it hurt more than getting the tattoo? I’m not sure, the tattoo was 17 years ago and the memory of the initial pain is long gone. I will say the pain was much higher at the first clinic I went to for treatment. The whole session takes less than a minute, but wow, it is a long minute. I’ve never tried numbing cream. They have this cold air they blow on my ankle before and during the treatment at the new place. I’m not sure how much that helps. They also give me these stress balls to squeeze during treatment and I have to remind myself not to throw them at the tech’s head to make her stop. Because one time I did ask her to stop and she just kept going. She told me afterwards that it was better for me if she didn’t stop and start because it was so quick. Hmmm, easy for her to say!

Healing: At the first clinic, I would have pinpoint bleeding for at least two days. The tattoo would then scab over with a lovely, crispy looking black layer that would last about a week. I was super excited at first wondering what my tattoo would look like after the black scab of doom came off . . . only to have it look about the same. At the second clinic, I had redness after the first two treatments, but no bleeding. After my most recent treatment, I had redness and a big, bulging blister that developed in the center. The blister has finally started to go down after 9 days, but is still there. They treated the color on my most recent visit so we’ll see how the red color looks after the blister is gone (the red has stayed pretty vibrant throughout all treatments). I will add a picture once it is healed. It’s impossible to shave close to the tattoo while it was healing so when I take a picture before it is healed, it magnifies any hair by the tattoo and makes me look like I am some hippy that doesn’t shave.

Cost: $99/session at first clinic, $175/session at new clinic.

I am almost at the two year mark for treatments and there has been some fading, but definitely not what I hoped for after two years. It still definitely looks like a butterfly. So about a thousand dollars in, a lot of pain, and not much difference. I think the best solution is to keep throwing money at it. At this point, I’m hoping for a little more fading, but have accepted that it is probably not going to be removed completely. I should have listened to my grandma 17 years ago – she told me I would regret it one day.

Also if you go through airport security after a tattoo removal treatment with a bandaged ankle, they take you to a special room for a security screening. Apparently a bandaged ankle can flag you as a suspected terrorist.

Added a new photo showing the difference after the...

Added a new photo showing the difference after the last treatment. It is still healing up a bit, but it's showing good progress.

January 2014

It's been a while since my last laser treatment. Had one on Friday. I am posting a picture of what it looked like right before treatment next to how it looked after the first treatment. I think there might be some scarring that I am noticing after all the treatments, but it is fading well.

My last treatment on Friday did not hurt as much as previous treatments. They treated all the colors and the black outline this time. Normally they just treat the colors one visit and the black on the next visit. I am posting a picture of how it looks two days after treatment. It looks even worse in person. I am a little worried because I have never had this kind of blistering before. The redness extends well beyond where the tattoo ends. I know a lot of people experience blistering, but I thought this was more common in the beginning of treatment and less so as time went on.
WIFH

Google

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (9)

I would imagine each time you are lasered the results will vary. The ink is at different layers, the skin, the outside temperature, it's all different. I would continue to follow regular after care instructions and then if the swelling doesn't subside/go down in a few days then call the clinic. I know the last time I was lasered, the results were different from the time before. I had bruising, which I never had before. But within a few days of proper aftercare, everything was great. Good luck, stay positive, keep us posted. We're rooting for you. aloha...k
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That has faded a lot! Did they say how many treatments you may need? I am using the revlite si too!
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You are having great results, thank you for posting your review :) Best of Luck!
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I love the 3 pictures stitched together to show the amount of fading. That butterfly is definitely going bye-bye!!

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aloha kkelley474,  Your fading is wonderful.  I recall reading that laser removal on ankles can be time-consuming, the circulation flow affects the speediness of fading.  But I think removal is worth it and once you start I recall someone telling me that you have to stick with it while you endure a weird looking faded tattoo.  But it's worth it, isn't it?!  Good luck!  aloha...k
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aloha kkelley474, I definitely see fading especially in the side-by-sside photos.  You bring up a few good points in your review: the precise use of the correct lasers, the willingness to continue despite the  pain and money and a final good point is the bandaging issue going through security.  There are many who might fly to a clinic (as I'm considering) and may not have considered the bandage issue.  Although one they took away my yogurt spoon out of my purse!  :-)     I have found that it is important to be POSITIVE (the laser will demolish the ink and the immune system will suck it up), be PATIENT (all of this takes time my firends) and finally to be PERSISTENT (keep at it, it'll work but refer to the first two P WORDS).  Keep squeezing those stress balls!  aloha...k
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Patience is definitely key! As for the airport, they just swabbed the bandage to test for something - it was pretty uneventful after being taken to a separate screening room.
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I didn't realize red was one of the tougher colors to remove. Do you happen to know what kind of laser either clinic uses?

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The first clinic was the Verapulse vpc laser, and the new clinic uses the Revlite SI laser.
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