I Have a Tattoo in Black and Its About .5 by 1.5 and Would Like to Get it Removed. Will it Be Costly? (photo)

Doctor Answers 2

Tattoo removal need not be costly

Tattoos in black are the easiest to remove because the black ink absorbs the laser energy the most.  A tattoo of your size would be $50-$100 per treatment.  The exciting part of laser tattoo removal is just about to begin, with the new Picosure Laser.  It works with trillionth of a second pulses, all other lasers are billionth of a second, and although that might not seem like a big difference it is.  The picosecond pulse works differently in that it creates an acoustic wave (think sonic boom) that shatters the pigment, rather than heating it up and blowing it apart like ALL other current lasers do.  This results in smaller pieces of pigment and the body can carry them away much better, which gets rid of your tattoo much faster than ever before!  I'm not sure where you live, but there are currently only 15 of these lasers in the world, and I'm proud to say, my office, Phoenix Skin owns one.  Tattoo removal wil be forever changed because of this new technology!!

Phoenix Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Black tattoo pigment responds well to laser, and small tattoos can be surgically excised

Black tattoo pigment is often india ink, but can also be from a number of other substances, such as charred material.  As you learned in school, black absorbs the most colors, and so black pigment will absorb a lot of energy from any color laser.

While laser is usually the best treatment for tattoos, especially black tattoos, because it generally results in little to no scar, I have also seen many patients who cannot wait for multiple laser treatments, perhaps because they want to go into the military.  When the tattoos are small, surgical excision may be a good choice.

As a plastic surgeon, I have done quite a number of tattoo excisions, for patients who have become frustrated with multiple laser treatments or who cannot wait or who need a very complete removal.  A scar always results from excision, but for a small tattoo, patients have been very happy with it.

I can't tell from your photo where the tattoo is, but if you have it excised, be sure that whoever does the excision is qualified to operate in the area where the tattoo is.  In particular, I often see patients with tattoos on the hands or forearms.  Unless they have had special surgical training, they may not understand the complex anatomy just under the surface (e.g. nerves, tendons, joints), so surgical training and experience is something to look into before you have excision.

James Nachbar, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

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