Getting tattoo removal with the Cutera Enlighten. Can taking a pain pill (Norco) make it more bearable?

Last week I had my first laser session with the Cutera Enlighten. Prior to this I have had my tattoo treated with the Astanza Duality 4 times and handled it ok. The Enlighten was by far one of the most painful things I've endured. My tattoo is large and therefore the treatment time is extensive. This time with the Enlighten I was only able to stand half the tattoo being treated. The doctor has offered to give me a Norco before my next session and I'm wondering if you think this will help.

Doctor Answers 6

Local Anesthetic

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Thanks for your question.  We happen to have an Enlighten.  We use topical anesthetic (BTL cream) prior to the procedure and most of our patients handle it fine.  Another option is to use a PFD patch.  This does make it easier to tolerate.  In addition, it allows for more passes in one session.  If someone is very sensitive, we can also use local injections of 2% lidocaine but that may be a problem if your tattoo is very large as it can cause systemic effects.  The thing about the elighten is that is is a Pico laser and it helps better in removing ink especially when dealing with colors.  It is also possible that the energy needs to be turned down because your tattoo is absorbing too much energy.  Finally, the norco might indeed help prior to the procedure.  I've used this technique in cases where clients don't respond well to lidocaine.  These are just some thoughts.  Best of luck.

College Station Internist


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Norco might ease the pain for you. There are other options such as topical numbing creams, as well as local injections. Discuss the option that is to your preference with your provider. Good luck! 

Hardik Soni, MD (not currently practicing)
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician

Tattoo Removal

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With our q-switched YAG, the sessions are pretty fast.  I cannot recall a time when a patient wasn't able to tolerate a treatment.  We use topical numbing creams combined with occasional injectable lidocaine.  I also advise patients to take Ibuprofen 1 hour prior to their removal.  Hopefully some of these suggestions will work for you.  

Marilyn Pelias, MD
New Orleans General Surgeon

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Great question regarding #tattooremoval ! At the Laser Center of Maryland we will offer patients EMLA numbing cream, local anesthetic injections (lidocaine) and/or Nitrous oxide. All of these options are non-narcotic and frankly will work better than taking Norco! Keep in mind you shouldn't be driving while taking narcotics as well. Best, Dr. M

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Pain medication prior to tattoo removal

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I would ask to have it injected to numb it up. I don't think that oral medication is nearly as effective as doing this. 

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