8 Laser Sessions on my Tattoos but Hardly Any Result? (photo)

Hello all, I've got a tattoo on my wrist and one on my belly. On my wrist I had 8 laser removal sessions. This tattoo is about 11-12years old n the colours are mainly black n little blue n white. On my belly I had 7 sessions. This tattoo is about 11 years old n the colour is black. We used a strength of 3.5 and 3.9 last but the laser can go up to 6. How come there is so little result? I'm getting really annoyed now :(( Thank you for getting back to me and your advice

Doctor Answers 4

Laser tattoo removal

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Hi, there are three components to getting a good result with laser tattoo removal. First you want to see a board certified dermatologist with expertise in laser surgery that understands laser physics. You can not expect someone who took a weekend course or was trained by a company to operate a laser the same way as someone who was trained formally in residency to do it. Two: you want a good laser to be used. Some folks rent lasers and often they do not perform well as they get moved from place to place or sometimes folks buy cheaper lasers. Yes there is a picosecond laser that is beginning to be markets and although we think it works better, we really need good studies to be able to claim so and in my opinion the nanosecond lasers are still the gold standard until we have more data. Finally, you and your doctor should have had a consultation where you discussed the typical treatment course as well as risks and benefits. It seems like this aspect might have not gone too well as I do think you are getting some fading but perhaps you had different expectations and that is why I always encourage a consultation prior to any treatment.

Multi sessions for tattoo removal

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HI, unfortunately when having your tattoos lasered off no one can accurately predict how many sessions it will take.  The current technology heats the ink and breaks it apart and the more ink that is in a tattoo the longer it will take.  There is a new laser, Picosure which is much more powerful than current lasers which will remove tattoos quicker, but there are only a few in the US right now.  Hopefully coming to the UK soon.  In the meantime, ask your doctor about the R 20 protocol, which is multiple treatments to a single tattoo done 20 minutes apart.  This has been shown to remove tattoos faster.

Tattoo Removal and laser

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Experience matters when dealing with difficult tattoos.  It will be hard to predict how many sessions are necessary for a multicolored tattoo such as yours.  The frequency used will determine the penetration of the laser to break down the particles.  I suggest you contact a board-certified dermatologist experienced in laser surgery. 

Multiple Laser Sessions Required for Tattoo Removal

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Tattoo removal with Laser energy is quite often frustrating for both provider and patient. Using the proper wavelength is important, enough energy as you mentioned, and interval between treatments.

The iron oxide pigment (tattoo ink) that is fragmented by the laser energy is removed by your own body's white blood cells (macrophages). A month apart from each session was thought to be sufficient, but as clinical evidence has proven, a longer period (closer to a minimum of 8 weeks) is necessary. As already mentioned, the amount  of ink, type of delivery, and depth of penetration all factor in to the equation. Professionally applied tattoos are usually easiest to remove. Quite often tattoos are used to cover a less desirable tattoo, which can also spell trouble.

The fading present is suggestive that the tattoo is responding, but may require more energy. The cost of additional treatments is usually reduced as treatments progress due to a reduction in the number of pulses. Good Luck, M.Lyons, MD

Michael B. Lyons, MD, FACS
Mobile Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.