Yag laser or Cutera Enlighten on possibly scar prone skin?

Hi! I have a large black professionally done outline tattoo on my back that I deeply regret and wish to remove. I have to choose between a Yag laser (that's available in my town) and the Cutera Enlighten (that unfortunatly is quite far away). I also have a hypertrofic scar from a tuberculosis vaccine, and atrophic acne scars, so I'm afaid of more scarring. Is there really such a big difference between the lasers scarring risk? I have skin color type III.

Doctor Answers 3

Yag vs. Cutera Enlighten

Both lasers would work on black ink, especially with an outline tattoo. With Cutera Enlighten you would probably have it done faster, in fewer treatments, while Yag might take extra treatments. When it comes to your scars, I would make an appointment and have an evaluation with an expert before proceeding with the laser tattoo removal. There is always a chance of scarring and hypopigmentation.


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Enlighten vs. Yag

So, the Enlighten has the KTP 532nm, Nd:Yag 1064nm and 670nm wavelengths to target all colors. I have used my Enlighten for 1 1/2 years and have never seen anyone scar from it. I think scarring is partly due to the operator not knowing the parameters to use. BUT there is also some unpredictability in laser treatments in general. Proper care after any type of laser treatments is key. Anytime you are fearful in your results, always try a test patch.   

Type of laser

When you mention Yag laser in your question, I assume that you are referring to Q switched laser.  The enlighten laser is also a 1064 Yag laser (as one of its 2 available laser wavelengths.)  However, an advantage to the enlighten is that it is a picosecond laser.  Data shows that enlighten should provide you with more complete results in approximately 40% fewer treatments than with Q-switched lasers. This should be particularly true if your tattoo is dark ink, as is suggested by your description of it being an "outline."  There should not be a higher incidence of scarring with one vs. the other.  While scarring can occur with any laser treatment, if the treatment is performed properly, the risk of scarring should be very low.   

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.