Tattoo Excision for Large Tattoo?

Hello, I have a pretty large tattoo that wraps around forearm/middle arm to upper arm that I would like to have removed via surgical excision w/ skin graft... I'm sure it would be a long and painful process, but I think laser is out of the question because of the size and teal color. I'm fine with scarring and I'm sure it will be relatively significant. Where can I begin to find someone with a lot of experience with this procedure? Because of the scale, it requires a master...thanks...

Doctor Answers 3

Stick with laser

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The laser might not be perfect, but the procedure you are speaking of has significant risks and downtime, not to mention the scarring. A burn surgeon would be the best bet for an opinion on this, but proceed with caution. Be well, Dr. M

Annapolis General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Large Tattoo Removal

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To excise a large tattoo (say one larger than your hand) means that a skin graft from somewhere else will need to be done. The doctors that have the most experience with skin grafts are the same ones that treat large burns in hospitals, i.e. plastic surgeons. Call several in your area and explain your situation.

You mentioned laser might not work but did you know that the Alexandrite laser will remove teal and other green pigment? While you are making phone calls, see if there is someone in your area with a VersaPulse laser ( which has the Alexandrite as well as others all in one machine) so that you can have the option of laser removal.

Although it might take 10-12 laser treatments on average, you might get lucky and only need 6-8 treatments. And if you have excision and skin grafting, the wounds will never look like normal skin and will take at least a year to heal.

Good luck.

T. Wayne Day, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon

Tattoo excision

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Be careful you do not trade one problem for a worse  problem. Excision of your tattoo will obviously result in a scar that may be unsightly. Several excisions (staged) may be necessary because of the tightness of the skin in this area.

Skin grafting is a major procedure with significant potential risks and complications,  involving the recipient and donor sites. Again, the resulting cosmetic results leaves much to be desired.

I would suggest you continue to look into laser treatment options (this technology does improve yearly).

If you do decide to proceed with surgical treatment, consult with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

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.