Can my Tattoo Be Removed with out Any Scar or Discoloration? (photo)

Can my Tattoo Be Removed with out Any Scar or Discoloration?

Doctor Answers 3

Laser tattoo removal

the Q-switched laser are used for laser tattoo removal. there no such thing as scar-free procedure on the skin (yet) especially when it comes to laser tattoo removal. as evident from the picture u have provided, it is a very large tattoo and looks like it was made by an artist which means that they used good quality ink and a LOT of it. hence it will take several treatments for the tattoo to lighten up and that will subsequently increase the risks of even more scarring. Im not trying to discourage you but Im just being realistic.

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Tattoos Can Improve and Fade with Treatment-- Complete Clearance Doubtful

Removal of your tattoo would be very difficult due to multiple factros- your tattoo is quite extensive, their are multiple colors, and your African-American skin type.

Your goal should be marked improvement and fading of the tattoo, with a good result being 80% improvement.  Complete disappearance is highly unlikely.  Additionally, some texture changes in the skin, skin lightening and small pin-point scar may occur with treatment.  Also-- many treatments, over many years, will be necessary.

The best laser for your tattoo is the Q-switched Nd:Yag laser with frequency doubling-- essentially 2 lasers in one-- with a 1064nm and a 532nm wavelength.  This can address the black and red, which is most of what I see.  Do not expect any laser to be very effective in the yellow tones.  Treatments are best spaced 2 months apart to allow for maximal clearance with each laser therapy and to prevent the risk of scarring.

Make sure you consult with a board certified Dermatologist or other laser expert who has extensive of experience in laser tattoo removal.

Jeffrey C. Poole, MD
Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Tattoo Removal Options

To answer this question we need to understand how various tattoo-removal options work.

Surgical excision involves the excision of the tattoo and closure of the defect. As a result, there would be a scar; however, surgical excision may be a good option for a small tattoo in certain areas. Dermabrasion may be useful for removal of tattoos where laser removal is not an option. Problems with dermabrasion is that there may be a textural change or scarring and sometimes not all of the tattoo pigment is removed.

Tattoo removal with one of the Q-switched pigmented lasers (e.g. YAg, Ruby, Alexandrite) is very useful for removal of tattoos with minimal risk of complication for many patients. The way the laser works is that the laser is a very specific wavelength of light. This light is fired onto the tattoo and is preferentially absorbed by the pigment in the tattoo. In other words the energy in the form of laser light is preferentially absorbed by pigment and less absorbed by water, blood, etc. As the laser energy is absorbed by the tattoo pigment, this energy causes the pigment particles to shatter and these smaller pigment particles are cleaned up or carried away by the body's immune and lymphatic system. The best candidates for tattoo laser are patients where the contrast between the target (i.e. tattoo) and non-target areas (e.g. skin) is greatest. In other words, best candidates are people with very fair skin color but a black or dark tattoo. Also, some tattoo pigments (e.g. black) are better absorbed and therefore more easily treated than other pigments (e.g. blue, yellow, red) that do not absorb laser light as well.

The problem you have is that you have a very large tattoo (i.e. surgical excision is out) in an area where surgery or dermabrasion would leave a very bad scar or complication. The other problem is that your tattoo has many colors in it and you have a fair amount of pigmentation in your skin color. In other words there is less contrast between the target (i.e. tattoo) and the non-target area (i.e. your skin). As a result, your skin could absorb more of the laser's energy than compared to somebody with less pigment in their skin. This could lead to discoloration or lightening of the skin.

These are some of the things to consider in the treatment of your tattoo. Good luck.


Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 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.