I Want to Get a Tattoo Excision and I Am Wondering if This is Possible Given the Size of my Tattoo? (photo)

I decided quite stupidly to get a tattoo 8 days ago. I have regretted it ever since and have become traumatized and depressed to the point that I do not even want to leave my house or interact with other people. I have looked into removal methods and I believe excision to be the most guaranteed and cost effective method of removal. My tattoo is relatively small and located on my left rib cage slightly below and to the left of my breast. Please help! I cannot live with this tattoo anymore!

Doctor Answers 4

Excision of tattoo

I would recommend against excising the tattoo.  Although it might seem more cost effective, the resultant scar would be quite large.  In fact it will be about double the length of the tattoo.  I would only go to a board-certified plastic surgeon to remove this, as they have the most experience at understanding the skin tension lines to give the best cosmetic outcome. I would recommend laser tattoo removal, as the  with the correct laser, you have a chance of completely removing the tattoo with minimal or no scarring.  At our medical spa and laser center, Chic Esthetiq, we use the Revlite SI, which uses the laser to photo-acoustically obliterate the ink, instead heating it up.  This minimizes the risk of thermal damage and scarring that was seen in older laser tattoo removal systems.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Removal of Tattoo

I agree with Dr. Rueckl regarding staged excision.  The tattoo can be excised, but it will leave permanent, visible scarring along your flank.  If the tattoo is black, it could also be treated with laser and would likely respond well, although multiple treatment sessions would be required. 

Richard Ort, MD
Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Tattoo Excision in stages

I'm sorry you hate it, but yes, it's possible to remove it. Based on the size and location (and the size of you) I would say you will need more than one excision, or a staged excision, where the middle of the tattoo is removed in a fusiform style (like a football shape (not SIZE, shape!) and then it's sutured closed. Several weeks or even months later another excision is done for the rest of the tattoo and the site is reclosed. The issue is that even though you think this is "relatively small," it's really not and the location doesn't allow for much stretch of the skin there. So a staged excision is going to be easier and more effective for you.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Removing a Small Tattoo

Hi Mikela, 


I'm sorry you're regretting the tattoo. Fortunately, you can get rid of it! However, I (like the other doctors below) firmly believe that excision is not the best option for you. Why live with a scar in the area for the rest of your life when you could have laser treatments remove the ink and leave the area free and clear as if nothing ever happened. Yes, laser treatments will not be as fast as an excision. But any doctor willing to provide an excision for a tattoo in that area of the body (that will be bending and moving frequently, something that doesn't work well when you've got sutures and scarring) will ultimately be doing you a disservice in the long run. I suggest finding a physician who is comfortable working with pigment lasers such as the Q-Switch Alexandrite to get rid of your tattoo as effectively as possible. Black ink is one of the easiest to treat. Best of luck! 

Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 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.