Could This Tattoo Be Removed with Laser Treatment? (photo)

Hello! I got this tattoo done on my wrist in November and I am currently still happy with it, but I do plan on starting some sort of removal process in about year when I begin my career search. I would just like to know how well laser treatment would remove this tattoo and about how many sessions it would take. Thank you so much.

Doctor Answers 5

Laser tattoo removal

Hi, your tattoo would be amenable to treatment with laser. How many treatments it takes depends on a few factors, the density of ink in the tattoo, the experience and knowledge of the laser operator and the laser being used. I would recommend seeing a board certified dermatologist with advanced training in lasers as they are the best specialists to treat these lesions. The technology was invented and developed by dermatologist. In my opinion, the risk for side effects and complications are higher when you see untrained providers. 

Stamford Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tattoo Removal Candidate

Typically, black ink responds very nicely to laser treatments, however there are a couple of factors to take into consideration including the quality of the machine and the depth of the ink; both factors can make it difficult to predict exactly how many treatments you will need. The wrist is a sensitive area for scarring and with a sensitive area it is best to start out conservatively and slowly become more aggressive as the area will allow. Most patients with this type of tattoo will have minimal scarring and possibly a light shadow of where the tattoo once was. “Dr. D”

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 120 reviews

This tattoo can come off but is very dark.

The dark black in your tattoo sometimes responds very slowly, but you should be able to have it removed satisfactorily with a Q-switched laser.  I would probably start with 755 nm, alexandrite.  Whether or not it comes off completely depends on how it responds and how many treatments you are wiling to have done. 

Stuart H. Bentkover, MD
Boston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Tattoo removal on the wrist will take many sessions

Thank you for your question and photograph. Laser tattoo removal can be very successful, particularly on patients with lighter skin. Black tattoos tend to respond well to proper laser treatments. The fact that your tattoo is relatively new and on your wrist, it will take at least a dozen treatments for complete fading. The wrist area is at higher risk for scarring so the treatments have to start out rather conservatively. The wrist area also tends to take more treatments than the shoulder or upper back. Make sure that an Nd:YAG laser is being used for your treatments and that the operator is very experienced.

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Erasing the

The tattoo you have will respond to laser treatments however, how many you need will vary between 5 or more treatment depending on the laser user and the tattoo itself.  After one or two sessions the tattoo may look faded and unevenly coloured but bear with the treatments and you'll be happy with the clearing of the region.

The risks involved can include a remaining lighter area where the tattoo is (i can see from the photo you may be a skin type 3 or have a tan?).  It is necessary to keep the area from sun as the lasers target pigment in the skin.  Tanned skins present complications.  Given that it is your forearm, precautions to keep it covered will be required.

When researching a facility ensure that your cosmetic physician is experienced in tattoo removal (not all lasers will work on tattoos) and they outline clearly the risks and benefits involved.

R. Stephen Mulholland, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

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.