Is it normal to have the lower leg inflamed after 3 days of the treatment? How can I tell if it's infected? (Photos)

Hello and thanks in advance for your comments: I am on my 3rd day of healing process and everything looks like that is going well, since I am being extremely careful (cleaning the area and using Acquaphore and new bandages 3 times per day and not doing sports, keeping my lower leg up as much as possible). I do not have pain. However, the lower leg is still inflamed and even my foot. I have attached pics. Is this an beginning of infection? I had 4 treatments in my first day. Thanks

Doctor Answers 4

Post Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment Swelling & Blisters

It would be helpful to know what laser was used for your treatment.  Q-Switch or nanosecond lasers have a more inherent risk of complication over picosecond lasers.  It looks like you have significant blistering and swelling.  Blistering is more common on the lower legs and ankles than the upper body because blood flow is less so healing is slower.  Laser tattoo removal blisters should generally be treated like those from a sun burn.  Do not puncture (pop) them.  If you must, use a sterile needle to drain the fluid, but keep the overlying skin otherwise intact and in place to protect the healing area.  We also recommend keeping it elevated as much as possible.  Avoid heat (hot tub, hard cardio workout, working outside in Texas in July, etc) for 24 hours after laser treatment and as long as you have blisters. Several ways to tell if it gets infected:  fever or high heat on the treated area (although with swelling, you can expect that area to be warmer than non-swollen areas of your body), appearance of pus or drainage of any color other than clear, if the swelling decreases, then seems to increase again, especially if the swelling becomes hard or painful.  You will probably know if it becomes infected-the appearance of the wound will change.  If you have any questions about it at all, seek medical attention immediately.

Fort Worth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Laser Tattoo Removal gone Wrong

This is not the usual or desired results, I'm sorry this has happened. What you have to do is try to minimize scarring with good wound care. Please see another physician, Derm or Plastic Surgeon to take care of this burn. Aquaphor, Biafine, and possibly Silvadene is needed. Either the wrong laser was used or settings were off.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tattoo Removal -- Pico/Q Switched Laser

Sometimes when there is inflammation this needs to be evaluated for a granulomatous reaction and if the reaction is normal for the tattoo.  I suggest you see an expert.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

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Inflammation after tattoo removal

It is very difficult to make a definitive assessment with just the picture however this appears to be normal inflammatory process after tattoo removal. It is common to get some blistering and even some swelling of the extremity. However I would advise seeing your provider to  determine definitively whether this is normal and not something more dangerous like an infection. Hope this helps and good luck in your process of laser tattoo removal.

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.