Tattoo Removal Consult with Dr. Ricatta -Vernon Hills, IL

Went in for consult today with Dr. Ricatta in...

Went in for consult today with Dr. Ricatta in Vernon Hills. I'm so happy that i did. I've been living with horrorendous tattoos (sleeves) on both arms for years. These tattoo have been ruining my life since i got them a little over 2 years ago. I always cover my arms in public and even developed extreme anxiety and severe depression which i was even hospitalized for. All i can say is that the staff that helped me were very kind and helpful. Robynn explained everything and answered all of my questions and was very nice and understanding with me. I was worried they wouldn't be able to help me with one of my tattoos which is basically almost solid black around 50% of my forearm but they told me it can be done. I was also worried about the price i was qouted 2,000.00 and that made me even happier. I haven't been to work in a little over a year now because i have been feeling so bad about my situation. Hopefully i can get working again and save up that money fast. I'm trying to keep my hopes realistic though because i know complete removal may not be possible and if that happens i may just get a cover up. I'm staying optimistic about it though. Praying for this! I will try and get some photos up soon.

Wow well great!

I had no idea the price i was quoted was per session. Cheers to looking like a freak for the rest of my life!

Shopping around

I've decided to forget about my consult with Dr. Ritacca and look for somewhere a bit cheaper. Getting treated with the picosure and by a great doctor would have been nice but my budget could never afford it. I've since looked into a place called 'Hindsight tattoo removal' it's run by a tattoo shop called 'Insight Sudios'. I gave them a call today and they asked me to email them some pics of my wreckage. I gotta find a way to get some up. Seems like these people will be cheaper regardless and i've since decided on just fading for a cover up. Stay posi :)

My Disasters

Hindsight tattoo removal

I've decided that i will be going with them for my removal. Great price! Great reviews! I will be ready for my first treatment in april. Wish me luck!

Booked for my first session (nervous wreck..)

Booked for 11am this friday. I'm freaking out sooo bad. I'm afraid of scarring, not seeing any results, all that can go wrong lol. This sucks! I've decided to go with Dr. Ritacca because he has the picosure and has removed lot's of tattoos. I made sure Dr. Ritacca himself would be operating the laser so everything seems cool. I'll be getting the whole left forearm treated. They apparently only do injections for pain so i'm thinking of going HAM on this and not doing anything for pain lol. Does it really hurt that bad? I'm scared about how all the black will heal. I was unable to get into my account for about a week. Switched browser and got in today. Now i know how much i appreciate having this forum available. Hold on for a second while i puke.

Fluid, Swelling, Blisters, Motrin, no sleep..

1st treatment on entire left forearm is finally done. I wen't with a cool air blast for pain and just kinda chilled out. The pain was worse near my wrist and elbow. Dr.Ritacca went over my entire tattoo twice. I think he used the revlite on the first pass and used the picosure on the second. It took about 2 hours to cover it all twice. Dr. Ritacca was cool and his assistant robynn kept the cool air on it so i wouldn't feel so much pain. It took a couple hours and i started seeing alot of fluid coming from my arm. I was told it was completely normal and that it was ink so i chilled out. Needless to say my arm is pretty big and its COVERED in blisters. They don't hurt much unsless i mess with them. I've changed the bandage 3 times already and i'm getting used to things now. My fist is also swollen and hurts. I'm taking motrin for the pain. Haven't gotten much sleep. I'm hoping to get some tonight. Dr. Ritacca said he's expecting about 50% fading so i'm keeping my fingers crossed. I will update when things progress.

Fluid, Swelling, Blisters, Motrin, no sleep.. continued

Everything seems to be healing up. Blisters are all starting to pop and dry up :). I'm seeing so much fading under it all and i hope it continues. Arm is still swollen. Hand has gone WAY down. I had some swellling in my upper arm that seems to travel up and has gone to my lat/chest area a bit. I'm not sure what that's all about but i feel fine anyway. Arm is a bit painful but i think things are starting to look up. My anxiety and depression have been really bad lately, but i'm managing. I'm just hoping the emotional side of things doesn't get so bad that it affects my healing.

Peeling, Drying, Itching, HEALING

So things are continuing to improve. My arm and hand are no longer swollen at all. The arm is drying out and peeling. It itches but i have been able to keep myself from scratching it. Very little pain every now and then but i can say the worst is over. I would put some pics up but i have no camera. It looks like a zombie arm :( lol. I will post again when things begin to lighten up.

Road to recovery

Everything is healing up nicely my arm no longer looks like a zombie arm. I'm seeing A TON of fading :). Skin is red though, i will be glad to see that fade. I'm ready to switch to a moisturizer soon. I'm debating between, Aloe? Cocoa butter or bio oil (some type of scar healing cream)? Any suggestions?

1 month 3 days post

I'm happy to say that everything so far couldn't have turned out better. My giant tattoo is almost gone. I would say one (2 at most more treatments) and it will be gone COMPLETELY. The fading I have from one treatment is amazing! I hope it continues to fade. It's really almost gone! Planning on zapping the other arm next and that should be gone super quick!

Feeling different, feeling better

Cardio, weights, whole foods, sobriety, religion, phone calls to close freinds, family, therapy all these things are my life right now. I miss going out like i used to but i sacrifice to benefit the all. i hope these things are at least helping my healing (not just keeping me sane). I'm rubbing bio oil on it every night and everything really is looking awesome. Unfortunately i get redness in some of the areas where the removal has worked at times, diminishing to a pink and sometimes my regular skin color. I don't know if it has to do with the removal process or what. I'm looking forward to going back hopefully in July if my finances are right and really clearing this sucker! It's no longer solid black and has faded to grey 'wave' work which was the filler for my amatuer japaneses sleve lol. The waves aren't even solid now and the samuari and other work is basically gone (so happy). I'm at least wearing t's at home now which is great and no longer feel like a slave to my room. I really am starting to see just how serious i was taking the whole thing just a little over a month ago. I think because i was also terrified of begining the process but i went for it and i'm glad that i did. I have much more respect for anyone who has any REAL serious issue. I mean i still want this thing gone but i don't obsess about it anymore and know things really are great in my life and i have so much to be happy about and tattoos aren't really forever (but might as well be lol). I'm slowly feeling more like my old self again:) I'm happy. Looking forward to future treatments! Dr. Ritacca really did a great job!

Tattoo removal has been totally worth it for me

I honestly think i'm already for a cover up! i will most likely be doing my other forearm in July. I'm so happy with my results! I hope it continues to fade! Anyone with a tattoo that they're unhappy with would be dumb not to have treatment.

Been a loong time since i updated

So it's been 3 months since my first laser treatment. I would post pictures but it looks pretty horrible still. I just got a job that i'm starting monday that pays good so i'm most likely going back for treatment #2 and by then hopefully i will be ready for a cover up. It's weird because sometimes the area looks sooo light but when i put on some cocoa butter or something it looks pretty dark still. I'm debating meeting with my artist and having him decide. My arm is still kinda sore and hurts a bit and i seem to get little pimples. My arm is still not fully healed. I wear short sleeve t shirts a lot now but this thing just wont go away. people still stare at my arm like it's the most bizarre looking thing in the world. I just wish this bs was over already. I know patience is key though and i won't settle for crap. Treatment #2 should be coming soon.

update date

so i'm getting ready in the next couple weeks to get hit again. I'm kinda nervous to go back. A LOT of the ink is gone but it just doesn't seem to heal? I took the train down to the city to meet the person i'm looking forward to having do my cover up work someday :( He says i deffinitely should get a couple more treatments. He was also extremely suprised with the outcome so far of my removal. Thing is soo much ink is gone but my skin looks pretty crappy honestly which is making me nuts. He thought i had it treated two weeks ago or something. I'm not sure why but this bad boy just isn't healing. He thought i had some red in there and was a bit shocked to know it was just black. I pray my skin doesnt end up soo bad i wont be able to get a decent cover up. Not like a crazy scar or anything but where the ink is gone the skin looks kinda spongey and shiney and i have redness with like these little red bumps. Wonderful thing is my bestfriend is coming into town this week and i'm a freaking wreck. The place where i met my cover up artist also does removal. I'm debating where to go from here? I honestly don't know if i got a super treatment or just burnt the ink and the crap out of my arm. I'd post pics but ahh.. so harrrd. I'm lost.


Everything has turned out pretty awesome for me. My skin looks/feels great. I'm gonna wait a couple months more before going back tho. Reading from the start of my review i'm sorta shocked at how bad things were. I regret spilling my guts out on this forum. Some of the things i shared on here were so real yet so stupid to me now. No longer will i post in forums where u have little control over editing your post's. Especially a forum that is pretty touchy for those going through with these treatments. Sorry dudes this will probably be my last update. Good luck to everyone.
Chicago Oculoplastic Surgeon

Very helpful explained everything well and made me feel very comfortable.

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Comments (79)

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Okay, so after you commented on my review, I read yours and you ain't lying. Our stories are literally identical. From long sleeves and depression to our current lifestyle. Your life is basically my life. Cardio, weights, healthy diet, religion, family, and phone calls to close friends (the only two who know what I'm going through). I'm even scheduled to start therapy next week. The sobriety thing sucks too (no one else wants to mention that one). When I go out with my forearm showing, people look straight this f**king tattoo. My whole life now revolves around it. But you're dead on when you say "I feel sorry for anyone who has REAL issues." This experienced has definitely humbled me. So now that you know where in this together, I got a couple of suggestions. First, be patient bro. I've done so much research on this stuff I could probably test out as laser tech my dam self. One thing I do know is that if your skin has not healed, you might not want to hit it again, you probably already know that though. Second, get a mini-trampoline. They increase your immune system between 15-30 times. Not 15-30%, but like multiplied by 15 to 30 times. Our immune system (lymphatic) is what's eating the ink. Google it man, it's awesome. Plus, if you've gone fitness crazy like me, its a good way to get some cardio in without wearing out your knees, ankles, and other joints. Use it to get some 2-a-days in without hurting yourself. So yeah man I just wanted to let you know I'm here with you. If you got any advice for me, l'd appreciate it. I don't know how to do the whole personal message thing but keep in touch. Oh, and by the way, I almost died when you said you were gonna go HAM on it. It probably went over a lot of people heads, but I thought it was funny as hell. I told my tech I don't care about no pain either, just GET IT OFF. Stay up man.
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I gotta get me one of those trampolines. are they exspensive? My arm looks like dook but i wear short sleeves anyway. Gotta show the guns lol. I really just hate hiding it to be honest. I feel like the more i hide it the worse i feel. I've honestly just come to the point where if someone doesn't like it they can kiss my ass. Nobodys perfect and everyone is flawed in some way. Nobodys f'in special. I get the same thing sometimes. I say hello to people and they don't look at me, they look at my arm lol. It's like umm okay whatever dude. Bad tatts happen more often than u would think anyway. If someone is gonna be a douche about it they're most likely insecure with themselves and see me or you as an easy target. ohh about that lifting thing again? lol. Gonna whoop some ass. Just be confident, most people suck anyway.
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Would you consider posting a completion pic when the tattoo is gone or unrecognizable? That way we can see the condition of your skin after treatment. I totally understand not posting pics since they show up in google searches etc. but I plan on posting a completion pic. If I ever have one;);)
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I'm hoping as i continue the process i will feel more stable and confident enough to do such a thing. I will deffinitely post at least a pic at that point. Everything so far though couldn't be better! :)
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wait... WHAT?!?! pictures show up on google searches???
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Not sure even so. I will most likely have something up soon. Honestly i've learned that the more i "hide" my problem the more it becomes a problem. I wear short sleeves sometimes just to feel free about it. Secrets like hiding my tattoos from people make my anxiety worse. Not like i'm fooling anyone anyway lol.
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holy crap. youre serious?
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yea man. I'd say a large part of the fading has also come from myself. I take care of myself with vitamins and exercise. No smoke or drink or party. Might sound like a dull life but i'm content and i really believe it's helped with the fading. Dr. Ritacca did me a solid. Oh and faith, "must keep the faith"..
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nice, dude.. way to go..
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It's still a battle. I'm still stuck wearing long sleeves this spring/summer and most likely will be living a hermits life. I plan on getting zapped again in July maybe September. My bad if i came off preachy in my last reply i'm just trying to stay positive and saying what worked for me. I just wish this was over already.
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no, not preachy. you hit it on the head. I had to wear long sleeves last summer, sometimes in between treatments rolled up a bit (button ups). sometimes itll seem like itll never end, or be so far away, but its not. i think what you get to learn is invaluable as well..
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So true man. Here's to progress! Thinking i'll tackle it again in July. Lucky for me doesn't seem like we're gonna have much of a summer this year. Hope your journey is going great still!
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confused. didn't you have pics. up before? Did you take them down?
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how do you do that?
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Yes i took them down.
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magic! lol. I asked to have them removed. Just clicked on my pics and had a delete option.
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Glad to hear things are going well :) Are you having a heavy itch yet? I love Cocoa Butter or Coconut Oil.. I have never tried Bio oil but have heard great things about it. Aloe would be a great thing to injest to boost your immune system, you can find it in any health food store. 
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It's itching but nothing too bad. I will look into the aloe.
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Thanks for the update :) I am glad to hear you are seeing fading already and it will continue to fade as the weeks go on. 

I wanted to try and lift your spirits, I have been where you are now (my review is Blackberry11 ) It really sucks, there is no other way to put it - the regret of the tattoo and the removal process can really dump a heavy load on your shoulders. The stress that the mind and body go through can really take a toll on your immune system so finding a way to manage is very important. Yoga, meditation, inspirational books and movies really helped me along the way - and of course the support of this community!

Now, as time goes on it does get better, the stress, worry and regret will fade away along with your tattoo. You just have to allow yourself to accept the situation and know that you are working towards a solution. Regret is a hard pill to swallow, but there is no point in choking on it...try to stop focusing your thoughts  on the negative and focus on moving forward with a positive outlook, just sum this up as a learning experience - a lesson in life. When you start to feel anxious practice the art of deep breathing, it's a natural stress and anxiety reliever - it will help clear your thoughts and reset your mind taking you into a state of relaxation. It is also a way to give yourself a mental boost! Get into the habit of shifting your awareness to your breath whenever you start to dwell on your situation. I encourage you to look up breathing exercises on your own and give it a try.  
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I will deffinitely try some of these. I know that positive thinking goes a looooong way. Thanks.
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You're most welcome :) Keep us updated on how you are doing and what works for you. 
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congrats on your first treatment down. they really took 2 passes with two different lasers? I wonder what the purpose of that was. ive also never heard of ink coming out as fluid before. I remember after my first treatment I freaked out because my fist got really swollen too and thought that maybe I had an adverse reaction or something. good luck on the healing..
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Thanks sooo much. yeah i'm freaking out. I really wish i hadn't gone so stupid about it. I look and feel like a monster. I guess he goes over it twice so that some of the ink comes out threw the skin. Apparently he's had really good results with this method. I haven't slept much or ate much. Never again will i be so damn thoughtless about tattoos. depressed mode since a couple hours ago. finding the non stick pads to cover this thing has been ridiculous. I called the office and they told me to use really cheap paper towel. I'm thinking that wouldn't work out very well for me.
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sorry you are dealing with this. Hopefully you get a good result- just keep you sights on 2 weeks from now and heal this as best possible. Once again, such a big area is hard due to swelling. ICE is your friend. And drinking a lot of water- the swelling dehydrates. Lightly rap the arm- I would get the wrap around roll of gauze and put the non stick pads on the bisters- then wrap them with the gauze- not too tight so they don't create more swelling- keep your arm a bit elevated. Then lay your arm on bags of ice- not directly but after light bandaging- for 10 mins. at a time. You can use bags of frozen vegetable. Good luck!!!- you're looking at a couple of days.
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Thanks for the tips! The swelling really is the worst part. I will try icing it. Was debating investing in a sling?
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