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    Tattoo Removal - Easier than Ever Before
    Susan Evans, MD posted:
    Removing a tattoo is actually much easier today than it used to be. Prior to the advances in lasers, your only choices used to be dermabrasion (abrading or scrubbing the skin) or excision (cutting out the tattoo). Now, lasers are becoming "pigment specific" which means that they can get rid of more colors than ever before. Some colors are easier to remove than others, but the real truth is that most tattoos will never ever be 100% removed.

    It takes an average of 5 — 8 in office treatments to remove a tattoo. This does depend on the size of the tattoo. Each session will last about 15 minutes and cost between $250 and $500 (which is generally NOT covered by insurance).

    Approximately 10% of the people in the U.S. have a tattoo, and about half of those are interested in getting a tattoo removed.

    Lasers work by breaking up the pigment of the ink with a high-intensity light beam. Black tattoos are easiest to treat because black pigment absorbs all laser wavelengths. All other colors require selective laser treatment depending on the pigment color in the tattoo.

    There are few side effects to tattoo removal, but keep in mind that the removal site is at increased risk for infection, incomplete pigment removal, and the possibility of a permanent scar. The treated area is essentially a burn that will heal in a couple of days.

    Removing a tattoo is considered to be very safe and very effective. It is much safer than any previous method of removing tattoos. Older tattoos are usually easier to remove because the strength of the original dye pigments was weaker. Newer ink technology and improving skills of the professional tattoo artists make artwork of the last ten years much more difficult to remove.

    The many colors in the newer tattoos require more sessions to remove the ink pigment because each color requires a specific laser with the correct color-specific absorption energy. Pigment destruction is limited to the same color or wavelength of the laser beam and at the depth that the laser can penetrate. If your tattoo is deeper, it may be impossible to completely remove this pigment.

    Please review the slide-show for additional information.


    Dr. Evans
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    russwife1 responded:
    I have had a tattoo for about 11 years that I really want to get removed and it is black in color but it is a bigger writing like shaded in with black ink. Do you believe it will be difficult to remove?
    Susan Evans, MD replied to russwife1's response:
    Dear Russwife1,

    Black tattoos are typically fairly easy to remove, however, you will need to go in and have a consultation with the dermatologist who will be removing your tattoo. It will take a number of sessions in order to remove the tattoo, as this can only be done in stages. Have a frank discussion with your doctor about your expectations.


    Dr. Evans
    russwife1 replied to Susan Evans, MD's response:
    Thank you for that information Dr. Evans, I will go see the dermatologist as soon as possible.

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