If a Tattoo Was over a Scar, Can the Scar Tissue Effect Results of Removal?

Doctor Answers 5

PicoSure Laser can improve tattoos and scars

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Scar tissue can slow down laser tattoo removal. Interestingly, in our clinical trials involving the development of the PicoSure we found that scars improved dramatically. So for patients with tattoos and underlying scars, the PicoSure laser is the best option as it can address both the tattoo and the scar.

New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Tattoo removal with scar

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If your tattoo was placed in the vicinity of a previous scar there will likely be less vasculature and lymphatics within the scar bed leading to some impediment of the bodies ability to clear the disrupted tattoo pigments following a laser tattoo treatment.  I believe you will still be able to achieve acceptable results but it may require more treatment than if there were no scarring.  
Kind Regards,

Jacque P. LeBeau, MD
Pensacola Facial Plastic Surgeon

Scars may slow down the removal of a tattoo via laser

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Laser tattoo removal works by shattering the pigment granules in the dermis and having immune cells then "gobble" up the debris and take it away through the lymphatic system.  If the tattoo is in a scar, there are less blood vessels in this dense tissue and it may minimize how many cells can get to the area to clean it up via the immune system, and it may slow down the response.

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

Tattoo over a scar

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Because scars generally have poor blood supply, it would take longer for the tattoo ink to be resorbed after laser treatment. Lasers work on tattoos by breaking up the ink into very small particles that then must be resorbed by the patient's body. The macrophages that take care of this activity would have a harder time of getting to the broken up pigment. Maybe you will need a scar excision which would also remove the overlying tattoo.

Russell W. H. Kridel, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Scar tissue can affect both the tattooing process and laser treatment

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Scar tissue can affect both the tattooing process [ink deposition may be greater or less in the scarred tissue] and laser treatment [the laser shatters the ink granules, but in a scar the body may take a lot longer to clear away the ink particles after laser treatment].

In your case, it might be good to wait 3-6 months after laser treatment, to give your body more time to clear away the ink.

Kevin C. Smith, MD
Niagara Falls Dermatologic Surgeon

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.