Good Candidate for Tattoo Removal by Excision? (photo)

I want to join the Air Force but I can't have this tattoo on my neck. The recruiter said laser removal might not remove it completely and sometimes people get sent back home from basic training when their faded tattoos are discovered, so excision is pretty much the only good option. This tattoo is only about 2 years old. I know there will be scarring but if it's possible to get it completely removed I'm ok with that.

Doctor Answers 3

Excision for tattoos

excision is a commonly performed procedure for tattoos. it works very well is the tattoos are small and in an area where the scars can be easily hidden. this is a fairly large tattoo on your neck and it might not heal very well even with what we call "staged excision" another option is to just cut out the tattoo design as it is a character and allow it to heal on its own. this way u dont have to worry about a long and a large scar that can take months to heal and will limit ur neck movement. the down side is the scar from this procedure will be the shape of the tattoo but the ink will be no longer there and no one can tell u that u have tattoo ink in your skin.


New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Tattoo Removal by Excision

Thank you for your question and picture.  Depending on the size and position of your tattoo, it is possible to remove the tattoo in a single operation. If there is enough flexibility in the skin surrounding a tattoo, it may be possible to cut around the tattoo and draw the cut skin edges together with stitches. Typically an oval shaped cut is designed as this allows a neat, straight or slightly curved surgical scar to be made.  Your tattoos are fairly large therefore the skin not having enough elasticity. Staged Tattoo Removal may need to be an option, where removal of the whole tattoo would leave a gap in the skin which could not be drawn together easily with stitches, staged surgery can be used. A comfortable amount of the tattoo is removed to allow stitching of the wound. A few months later, the surgical wound will be well healed and the skin will have stretched enough to allow a further portion of the tattoo to be removed. This can be performed under local anaesthetic.  Please make sure you find a reputable and qualified plastic surgeon who can access you properly to give you a realistic idea of the outcome you can achieve.All The Best! 

Excision of tattoos

I have successfully excised tattoos on the back of the neck.  Because of the size of your tattoos, they would likely require at least two staged surgical excisions, done at separate times.  I usually wait at least two months in between staged excisions.  Excision will remove the tattoo in its entirety but will replace the tattoos with permanent surgical scars.  It can be accomplished under local anesthesia alone. 

Richard Ort, MD
Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 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.