I have an ankle tattoo, all black, 7 years old. I am considering removing it but I am really afraid of not getting it all gone. Is there any major technology advance expected for the coming years, or should i go forward and remove it now?
New Laser Technology?
Doctor Answers 4
Things to know about tattoo removal...
- The procedure is uncomfortable/painful but fast and multiple laser treatments are required to remove a tattoo.
- The longer you wait between treatments the better you will do but seven weeks is the minimum time required between sessions.
- Adherence to the aftercare instructions is imperative for a successful outcome.
- Just like any procedure side effects can occur with tattoo removal.
- Every year (every single year!) new lasers enter the market and thus every year laser manufacturers claim to have a "better device". Some individuals who lack the experience to actually provide an accurate estimate unknowingly pass this incorrect information on to patients.
- Just like anything in life, experience and specialization along with proper communication and realistic expectations are great predictors of satisfaction and you should choose a clinic that you feel most comfortable with and the exact device used in a secondary consideration.
New Laser Technology
The PicoSure laser is a major technology advance for tattoo removal. I have been using the device over the two years ( the FDA trials were performed at our center). We are seeing faster and more complete clearing with almost all tattoos than I have seen in 30 plus years of removing tattoos. Most tattoos can be removed completely in 2013 if the patient completes the course of treatment.
Modern lasers work well for tattoo reduction
The short answer is that tattoo lasers have evolved only a little bit in the last few years and there is no imminent change in the technology that I am aware of. Main drawbacks are the need for multiple treatments, the difficulty treating some colors like greens and reds and the inability to guarantee complete removal in any one since results do show some variability and patient's willingness to do multiple treatments varies.
Having said this, the Q-switched lasers that are available work very well in many situations. They work best on black ink and often, though not always, can yield dramatic reduction or even near-complete removal with a manageable number of treatments.
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Laser tattoo removal
There has not been a better advance than when the Q-switched lasers evolved. Fortunately you have an all-black tatttoo that is easier to clear than a multi-colored tattoo, but it can take 10 or more monthly treatments to signficantly fade a tattoo.