Have Keloid Scarring After Laser Tattoo Removal, What Should I Do?

I've received 35 tattoo removal laser treatments and have significant keloid scarring. I've just started laser scar removal treatments. First in April, 2nd in July. The pics are this week (Aug. 25th). At the most recent treatment, the doc injected some steroid into the scarring. Am I going about this in the right way? What other options do I have? Anything cosmetic possible? How effective is the laser I'm using for the scarring? Any other advise thanks

Doctor Answers 3

Keloid Scarring

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Thirty-five laser tattoo removal treatments is a lot of laser treatments so you are to be commended for staying the course, but I do hope that you were being treated by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon's office. Why do some people keloid with these treatments? Sometimes there is too much energy used which causes more thermal damage than was needed and sometimes you are over-lasered, which may be the case here. In any event, you now have some scarring and using a fractional laser may be a very nice way to reduce the scarring and helping with the overall loss of pigment in the area. Again, this needs to be done by someone exceptionally skilled in laser scar removal, and one must determine whether a non-ablative fractional laser, like what was already described, or a more aggressive ablative fractional laser will give the best results. Again, the right consultation will decide this and the risks/benefits of them will be reviewed. We would also use injections with corticosteroids on a regular basis and we would also recommend silicone gelsheets to the area – these have been shown to reduce scars and increase pigmentation over time.

You have a ways to go — but with the right people helping you, this should be taken care of.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Addressing Laser Tattoo Removal Scars

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Using a laser to correct the damage from another laser is not uncommon these days. The most important thing to keep in mind is to choose a practitioner with the right level of skill and experience to do this. Work with a board certified dermatologist. 

The Fraxel Dual laser system helps the skin create normal collagen fibers that gradually override the collagen in the scar tissue.  It really makes sense to treat scars effectively using this paradigm. 

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Keloid Scar Improvement

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I am sorry to hear that you formed a keloid after your tattoo removal. It sounds like you are on the right track.  Steroid injections into the scars are an excellent way to flatten them. In our practice, we typically do these injections four weeks apart.  It is difficult to tell from your photos, but if you have some redness to your scars, a pulsed dye laser is ideal to help fade this.   Unfortunately, given the size and location, you would not be  a candidate for surgical revision.  Just remember that the goal is improvement , not complete eradication.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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