Large black neck tattoo. What are some educated guesses on how many treatments? PicoSure laser? (Photo)

A couple months ago I made a awful mistake and got a tattoo on my neck. The word "Gypsy" 4"H X 9"L with dark shading around the letters. Today I am in a rock bottom depression. I HAVE to get this tattoo cleared at all cost.

Doctor Answers 5

Tattoo Removal

Thank you for your question in regards to tattoo removal. Several treatments are required for tattoo removal. Depending on size, color, location, amount of ink, etc. will determine the number of treatments. Good news for you in that the ink is black (which tends to be easier to remove than colored ink) and the location of your tattoo will require less time between treatments. To be sure what is best for you, see two or more board-certified providers in your area for a complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have treatment. I hope this helps.

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Large black neck tattoo. What are some educated guesses on how many treatments? PicoSure laser?

I know only what they advertise regarding the Pico laser. We have tried lasers before, but not the Pico, and with a good laser and technician it could take 10 to 20 treatments per 4 inch square. 

We use the GoTattless, and it takes about 6 treatments per 4 inch square. It will remove it, however.

Best of luck.

E. Ronald Finger, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Large blalck neck tattoo, how many treatments?

Hello, thank you for your question and for including a photo. The way a laser rids the body of unwanted ink is, it shatters the ink into tiny particles and your body absorbs those ink particles.  The latest technology in laser tattoo removal is pico-second technology.

The PicoWay Laser (Candela/Syneron) uses photoacoustic impact/pressure waves rather than photothermal/heat.  This process has less heat, therefore it is more comfortable and the chances of hyperpigmentation are less.  The Pico-second pulse shatters the ink into even smaller particles, allowing the body to more easily absorb the ink.  This device can usually remove a tattoo in about half as many treatments as the traditional Q-switch devices.  I would guesstimate that it will take 8-12 treatments with this technology.  The laser actually produces a wound in the skin that you will have to take care of after each treatment, I find that the pico-second technology has far less tissue destruction post treatment too.  Post treatment care is as follows;


Immediately after treatment, there should be a “slight frosting” on the area that is treated. Erythema (redness) and edema (swelling) at the treatment site can occur and may last up to 2 hours or longer. Pinpoint bleeding may also occur.

An ointment (Aquaphor, bacitracin, or even Vaseline) should be applied to the treated area and covered with a non-stick bandage.

After treatment, the skin will scab over. It is very important not to pick, scratch or aggressively wash the area to prevent possible scarring. This crust should flake off in 7-10 days.

Avoid sun exposure to reduce the chance of hyper-pigmentation (darker pigmentation)

Use sun block (SPF 30+) at all times throughout the course of your treatments.

There are no restrictions on bathing except to treat the area gently, as with any other wound.

You should find a provider in your area that offers this new technology.

Good Luck!

Mark A. Blair, MD
Phoenix Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Laser Tattoo Removal - Neck

Typically 4 weeks in between treatments is the minimum but can be done if the tattoo is "close to the heart" as we say (neck, chest, back). Those on the extremities we tend to wait 6 to 8 weeks. Your tattoo is professionally done, and dark which means there is a high density of ink. I would agree that it will be at a minimum 6 treatments and could easily take more to be completely cleared. Very important will be your wound care. 

There is some soft tissue swelling that can occur in the first 12 to 36 hrs. I'm a bit concerned about this design wrapping around almost the entire neck. Perhaps do half at a time first treatment see how it goes. You could do one side then the other side 48 hrs later for example.

Picosecond lasers are fine but do not necessarily clear the ink in fewer treatments than a high powered nanosecond laser such as the Astanza Duality. Be sure the center you choose is experienced. 


Lisa Vuich, MD

Lisa Vuich, MD
Nashua Physician
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

​Patience is the Key to Laser Tattoo Removal

Thanks for your question.  We have treated several black/blue ink tattoos with great success.  We utilize a PicoSure with 755nm for this color ink. 

After finding an experienced provider, the next thing you need is patience.  We tell every Pico tattoo removal patient to expect at least 6 treatments and don't be surprised if it is 10-12 or longer with thick tribal tattoos.  We see some patients twice a year and their tattoos seem to clear up to 6 months.  After using the PicoSure for 2 years, we have found it is best to wait 2-6 months between treatments.  There is a limit to how small the laser can break up the ink.  It's up to you and your body to take the ink away.  We encourage our patients to drink plenty of water, sweat it out and eat a healthy diet between treatments.

You are trying to reverse permanent ink.  Good Luck and have patience!

Laura Riehm, MD
Fort Worth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.