I Have a 12' Red, Green & Black Half Sleeve Looking to Remove What Are the Realistic Expectations? (photo)

I have a consulation to remove my tattoo coming iup. It is a professionally done half sleeve. It consists of light to dark red roses, emerald green to lime green leaves, black/grey shaded skull & black outlines. I understand that some colours are difficult but the tattoo is began to cause me distress and need to know realistically what to expect in terms of removal. It is approx 12' inches on left upper arm. I am a 29 yr old caucassian male & would consider myself to be in very good health.

Doctor Answers 2

PicoSure and Q-switched lasers for tattoo removal, how we treat multi-colored tattoos in our NYC laser practice

Although laser technology has improved dramatically in the last several years muti-colored tattoos will require more than one laser to reduce the colors. No one can tell you in advance how many treatments you will need but you should plan on having at least 5 or 6 to see good reduction in the colors. Also, you can not expect 100% clearance. The colors may fade dramatically but there will still be some evidence of a background shade of color different from your skin tone.

The PicoSure laser dramatically shortens the length of treatment compared with Q-switched technology and can be used on the darker colors such as black and green. The red color would be best treated by a neodymium double frequency 532nm. laser delivering green light because red tattoos reflect red light but most efficiently absorb green. This may take more than 8 or more treatments to obtain a good result.  Some patients need more and others less numbers of treatments. Each treatment is spaced out about six weeks, so it is a long process. Both lasers can be used during the same treatment session.

The information provided in Dr. Shelton's answer is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice.  The information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs.


Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Realsitic Expectations

It would take some effort but this tattoo should respond quite well to laser treatment. Multiple treatments will be needed as well as different types of lasers. A combination of the PicoSure laser for the green and black ink and a q-switched laser (green light) for the red ink should lead to an excellent outcome.

Roy G. Geronemus, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 14 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.