2 Weeks After Laser Tattoo Removal and Still Swollen?

I had my third laser session on my ankle 2 weeks ago and am still experiencing swelling. I had blistering but now the area is just bloody. On my first two sessions I did not blister. Is this normal? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 5

Swelling After Tattoo Removal Can Be Normal

What you are describing may not be abnormal for that area, and we would suggest if you have any concerns, make an appointment with your treating physician and let them determine if anything is, in fact, wrong, or is this part of your normal healing process.

None of us want our patients to experience any adverse events when we are doing these procedures, but they do happen and that is why we regularly check with our patients and encourage them to check with us when they have any concerns.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Tattoo treatment and side effects

Healing time is much slower on the lower leg, but I would suggest you have a doctor look at this area and make sure it is not infected.  Take care, Dr. Groff

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Tattoo removal recovery...

Healing time is generally three weeks, but will vary for each patient.  The skin is extremely sensitive after the treatment, and this could possibly last for longer than 3 weeks.  This can be especially true for the skin of the lower legs.  Healing of the lower legs is not as good or quick as other areas of the body because of the dependent position.  After a tattoo removal, your body's immune system begins to repair the damaged skin, and further breaks down and removes the tattoo ink from the treated area.  Even though you may have gone through this procedure before, the healing process may be different than the times before, and that does not mean that the procedure is not working.  If you do have concerns, please visit with your plastic surgeon, for his/her opinion.

Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 205 reviews

Lower limbs take longer to heal with laser tattoo removal.

Lasering the lower limbs can be more painful than other areas, and because these areas are "dependent" and further from the heart, they take longer to drain away the shattered tattoo ink.  Make sure that you do not treat in a full circle along any limb as it is possible that it can swell in a circle and cut off the blood supply to that limb leading to amputation.  Blistering and swelling doesn't necessarily mean that anything was done incorrectly or wrong.  Make sure to elevate the extremity and follow your provider's recommendations about whether to "pop" the blister and leave it intact or to do nothing.  Ice in the form of a bag of frozen corn or frozen peas- applied 15 minutes on once hourly may also be beneficial.

H.L. Greenberg, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Swelling can occur

I would recommend you direct your question to the person who treated you as they know your situation better. Hopefully it is a physician's office as rarely there are complications that will require the expertise of a physician to evaluate. That being said, it is possible to have swelling after laser tattoo removal and that can occur especially on the legs. Ice and elevation should help but do call the person who treated you so they can take a look and make sure there is no infection or other issue going on.

Omar Ibrahimi, MD, PhD
Stamford Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 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.