Studies have revealed that 17-35% of subjects with tattoos want to have their tattoos erased in time. The most commonly used lasers for tattoo removal are Q-switched Nd:Yag lasers. The tattoo pigment breaks into pieces with laser pulses and is removed from the body with the lymphatic network of that region. The removal of the tattoo pigment from the body takes about 6 weeks. One therefore needs to wait for 6 weeks before evaluating the effectiveness and continuing with the following session.
Tattoo removal with laser does not lead to the same results for each tattoo. The most important factor for this procedure is the tattoo’s color. While a black and blue tattoo or permanent make-up can be easily erased, yellow/green/pink tattoos are more difficult to erase. The amount of pigment used and the tattoo depth also affect the success of erasing. Increased pigment amount and depth require an increased number of laser sessions. Tattoo erasing can take 5 to 15 sessions depending on these factors. The interval between the sessions should be at least 6 weeks.
The tattoo area is anesthetized with topical anesthetic cream for 30-45 min before the application. Whitening or bleeding may occur during the procedure. A crust lasting about 3-7 days can develop after the procedure. Epithelial creams are recommended for the crusting. A sunscreen must also be used after the application.
Tattoo erasing with laser is a fast, easy, and effective method that can be safely used in experienced hands. However, using the wrong parameters can lead to scarring and discoloration of the skin. In addition, one must be careful in patients with a history of hypertrophic scar and/or keloid.