As I am fond of telling my kids, the key to tattoo removal is prevention. Unfortunately, most of the people I see, at my cosmetic surgery practices in Maryland and Virginia, who want tattoos off never got that advice. But here I’ll provide some options each with pros and cons.
Laser Tattoo Removal: Lasers can remove certain tattoos. The best results are when the tattoo has dark ink. Lasers target black best. Reds and greens are much more difficult to eradicate. Professionally applied tattoos often come off more easily because the pigment is at a more uniform level. The problem here is that laser removal can require multiple treatments and sometimes fail for lighter colors, or deeper pigments. Even if the tattoo is removed a ghost of the tattoo is left behind.
Excision Tattoo Removal: If the tattoo is in an area where there is excess skin around the tattoo, if the skin is loose it can be cut out. This completely removes the tattoo but will leave a scar.
Serial Excision Tattoo Removal: For moderate size tattoos the tattoo can be excised in stages giving the skin time to relax and stretch between excisions. This leaves a scar too.
Tissue Expansion Tattoo Removal: If there is not enough skin to cut out and close the tattoo area balloons can be placed under the skin to stretch the adjacent area over a few months and then use the stretched skin to close the area. This option takes time, patience and is very costly. This leaves a scar too.
Skin Graft: A large tattoo could be removed and skin grafted over the defect but this would not be particularly aesthetic. Skin grafts generally do not look like normal skin and a scar would be left where the skin is removed.
The future of Tattoo Removal: A company called freedom 2 is developing pigments that will be much easier for lasers to remove but as of this writing, I put as of this writing they aren’t available yet.
If you are interested in Tattoo Removal, I invite you to contact me to schedule a consultation at one of my practices in Maryland or Virginia. To keep waiting to a minimum I encourage you read “Sorry I Kept You Waiting for Your Consultation of Cosmetic Surgery.” For more information on other procedures of cosmetic surgery explore my website.