Should I shop around for tattoo removal estimates? Was informed 20 sessions for a tribal chest tattoo. (photo)

Hi the circular section of my chest tattoo I have never been happy with since getting it done a year ago. I know nobody can give an exact time scale or sessions but I was expecting to be told 10-12 sessions but was told 20 sessions with 6 week breaks. The thought of having this on my body until the end of 2018 is very depressing, money isn't the issue but I feel an estimate of 20 sessions is too long. Should I shop around for different opinions or estimates?

Doctor Answers 3

Should I shop around for tattoo removal estimates?

Hello, thank you for your question. I believe that you should shop around for laser tattoo removal as the cost and number of sessions can vary from region to region as well as cost can be determined by the type of device being used. The latest technology in laser tattoo removal is the Pico-Second technology. The PicoWay Laser (Candela/Syneron) uses photoacoustic impact/pressure waves rather than photothermal/heat.This process has less heat, therefore it is more comfortable and the chances of hyperpigmentation are less.The Pico-second pulse shatters the ink into even smaller particles, allowing the body to more easily absorb the ink. This type of device can usually remove a tattoo in about half as many treatments as the Q-switch devices. This type of equipment may be more costly than traditional lasers used for tattoo removal, but it will probably be faster. Your ink looks very heavy, it may take as many as 20 sessions, and patience is definitely an important virtue, both in healing and allowing your body time for it to filter out the particles. I would recommend that you check with a board certified dermatologist for best/safest results. You can check to see if there is a provider in your area by clicking on the attached web reference and putting in your zip code.

Phoenix Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tattoo Removal -- Pico/Q Switched Laser

Tattoos should be removed with q switched or pico lasers, we will often combine with fractional lasers to help speed the process. No matter the device it will take several treatments to see the outcome depending on your response and the technology. Please consult with a laser expert. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

Tribal Chest Tattoo removal

Tribal tattoo designs tend to take a greater number of sessions as there is a high density of ink particles. 20 is a high guess but not grossly exaggerated as it certainly happens. 6 weeks is a good time spacing. You will likely need both 1064nm and 532 nm wavelengths to treat black and red respectively. Unfortunately there is no "rushing" tattoo removal. The most important consideration when selecting a tattoo removal provider is experience and the availability of multiple wavelengths which usually means more than one tattoo removal laser device on site.
Lisa Vuich, MD

Lisa Vuich, MD
Nashua Physician
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 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.