Can Arm Tattoo of This Magnitude Be Excised & Grafted Successfully? (Laser Treatments Not Working)

I'm seeking tattoo excision and grafting of my right forearm after a horribly botched tattoo procedure. I've had 3 Q-switch laser treatments, but there's barely any fading & doc says it'll never fade completely. I'll pay any amount of money to get it removed (& extra for anesthesia for pain). But can a tatt this large (wraps around forearm, from wrist to just below elbow) be excised serially? I can't find info online for excised tatts larger than a few inches.

Doctor Answers 3

Surgical Excision of Tattoo

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
You need to see a provider who can treat your tattoo with a quality laser with multiple different wavelengths to obtain an optimal result for your tattoo.  Serial surgical excision is not the answer for a tattoo of your size and location.  
Q switched and ruby lasers remain the gold standard for tattoo removal.  Best of luck.
Kind Regards,

Pensacola Facial Plastic Surgeon

Different lasers work better for some tattoo inks

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

1. The involved area is too large to excise without skin grafting which would be quite visibe - comparable to a burn scar.

2. I'd consider having a few test areas treated with differerent q-switched lasers. For eg., green doesn't respond to Q-YAG laser but might respond to alexandrite.

Try and find a laser expert with different lasers.

Daniel Berg, MD
Seattle Dermatologic Surgeon

Serial excision of large tattoo

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A serial excision would not provide enough laxity of skin to allow complete removal as you indicate that the tattoo wraps around the forearm.  I doubt that a plastic surgeon could utilize chronic skin expansion to inflate a sterile surgically implanted balloon and inflate it every two weeks, as this probably can not provide enough skin. You may get good improvement in lightening the tattoo but make sure you're seeing a laser expert who has enough lasers to combat the different colors.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

You might also like...

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.