I Removed My Only Tattoo by Excision - Vancouver, BC

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*Treatment results may vary

I always thought tattoos were cool and because...

I always thought tattoos were cool and because I've gone through so much these past few years....I thought I'd get a tattoo. I admit that I did not think this one through. It was an impulsive tattoo.
I still love tattoos, but maybe not on myself. The tattoo is a cherry blossom branch wrapped around my arm. I found the lines to be wobbly and the cherry blossoms not nearly as sharp as I wanted them. Also, it's an armband so it's very evident that I do have a tattoo. The placement could definitely be better because I am not surrounded with many supportive people unfortunately. Also, because I'm of asian descent, family support is not happening lol. I find that I have to put an effort to hide this tattoo from my parents and co-workers, which sucks because summer is hot and I love T-Shirts! I can wear 3/4 sleeves but ITS NOT THE SAME D=
Fortunately, after the first laser session, the tattoo lines started to really break up, the whole tattoo faded, and the flowers are starting to break apart. I have my 2nd laser session on the 30th and this time I have numbing cream so I'm looking forward to it!

Q-Switch Laser Session 2

July 30, 2016

I went for my 2nd laser removal appointment. This time I put on numbing cream for 35 mins before the treatment. I noticed that the removal hurt more this time and a bit of my skin cracked and bled as the treatment went on. I also needed a break this time and I didn't the first time.

She used 500-600m/p Q-Switch laser on me and said she had to amp it up a little bit this time for I wont see the results.

After the treatment, it didn't have a burning sensation for as long as the first time. Right after my first treatment, i sat in the clinic for 1.5hrs in pain and shock to the burning sensation. I felt like my arm was going to fall off and I was extremely nauseous. However, this time i was able to walk almost right after the treatment with little to no discomfort despite the treatment itself being more painful.

The healing process has also been good this time. Blistering happened this time but after the first day, its painless and not bruising that much.

Excision?

Does anyone know if its possible to excise my tattoo? Its small. The only concern I have is that its an armband

I've undergone successful Excision of my tattoo! Yay!!! :)))

In November 2016, I contacted several plastic surgeons in Vancouver about wanting my tattoo to be excised. I was met with a few rejections because many surgeons seem to not be willing to partake in this process for some reason. Maybe it's risky?

Thankfully, I came across Dr.Van Laeken who was willing to do the excision and she walked me through a very quick consultation. She seemed experienced and confident about the matter. The only factor that held me back was the price of surgery because it was nearly $4000. I did not expect this price tag because I thought it was only going to be $1-2000 as I've read on some reviews online. However, I thought long and hard about how badly I wanted this done and I took the leap.

I was anxious on surgery day but wanted to get it over with seeing as I've waited 2 months at this point. My surgery was on January 26, 2017. They put me under full anesthesia so I just blacked out for a bit and when I woke up I was already in the recovery room. I did not like anesthesia because it made me nauseous every time I turned my head. My arm had a ton of tightly-wrapped bandages on it and a caring nurse provided me with a bit of water and food. They waited about 2-3 hours after I woke up before sending me home with my girlfriend.

My girlfriend also picked up my prescription of codeine just in case the pain was unbearable. I was drowsy when I got home and passed out after a bowl of chicken noodle soup. When I woke up the next morning, I felt pain/discomfort on my arm. For the next several days, it swelled up against the bandages so it was uncomfortable and unpleasant. I took extra strength tylenol for a week after and eventually there was no more pain. I went in the clinic for a post operation check up and to take the bandages off after a week of recovery.

Since then, I've only been using micropore tape to keep the scar from forming ugly. At first, after taking off the bandages, I thought the excision might have restricted movement in my arm because it was a strange sensation / pulling when I stretched it straight, however, now my movement is back to normal. So it just needed time to heal. I'm super glad that it's gone!

This is what my scar looks like now :)

Here's an update of what my scar looks like now. It's healing phenomenally. The doctor also said so herself! As long as I put on the micropore tape, the scar should be flat and healed to a thin white line. Right now, it is scabbing and pink in a few areas because it needs time to fully heal. I'll be going back to the doctor in 3 months for her to check on the progress of my scar. I'm super happy with the results! These pictures are the results after just 1 month after surgery!

1 more month of healing progress

Pictures of my healing progress in one month. Last time I updated was on Feb 4. The scar looks a lot more white now :)

Healing Progress

It's been approximately 3-4 months after the surgery and the scar is healing quite well. Some parts are turning white/skin coloured as I had hoped. The doctor said usually the full maturation of a scar takes 1 full year of healing. I will see her again on July 26 to check on the healing. I still put the paper tape on it everyday but now occasionally let it breathe at nighttime (after massaging the area with vitamin E cream). I like the progress so far and will keep this post updates. :)
Nancy Van Laeken

I had very limited time with Dr. Laeken during this process of tattoo excision, however, I liked her efficient personality. She makes very limited comments and was not present when I woke up from the surgery (I assume that is normal). Meeting her and the clinic staff after the surgery was a little less welcoming than before the surgery (maybe they were just in a bad mood?). She assigned me to consume Arnica Montana before the surgery, but I had a bad allergic reaction to it and apparently there is medical evidence that it reduces swelling and bruising. It is homeopathic so keep that in mind. (I was not warned about the possible allergic reactions of this medication) I did not entirely understand the breakdown of the hefty price of this surgery, but I assumed it went towards her staff's expertise and full-body anesthesia. I am overall satisfied and happy with the result of the surgery. I also wish she'd prepare certain basic materials for me like the micropore tape and arnica instead of having me buy everything when I'm already paying such a huge amount.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
3 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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