Patients ask me all the time “Which tattoos are the hardest to remove?” That’s tough to answer because each tattoo and patient is unique and all tattoos clear differently. I will blog about what makes some tattoos recalcitrant in the near future but today I wanted to share a case study of a “shaded” tattoo. Generally speaking, these tattoos are some of the easiest to remove. There are many reasons for this but much of it has to do with the lighter amount of ink that’s used, combined with the fact that shading isn’t always placed as deeply as say, dark black outlines, for example.
This “Ghost” tattoo was located near the right shoulder blade and measured approximately 10” tall by 6” wide. The patient is a young man and the tattoo was over 10 years old. Because of the size of the tattoo, the treatment time was somewhat lengthy and intricate. Please note that unless your provider takes their time and is extremely thorough, strategic (blogging software hyphenates at will) and meticulous, the tattoo will fade unevenly and require more treatments than are actually needed. Total removal of this tattoo required only 4 treatments with the PicoSure laser using Boost.
I use air-cooling for comfort and occasionally a topical numbing cream. This gentleman had air cooling only and tolerated the treatments very well. More than 90% of the ink was gone following the 3rd treatment. The final treatment was only used for touching up any stray ink. The patient was very happy with the result and his skin was left undamaged thanks to the lightning-fast picosecond pulse of the PicoSure laser. Conversely, old-technology POS q-switched lasers have a greater risk of damaging the skin due to the slower nanosecond pulse and high energy requirements necessary to facilitate removal. Q-switched lasers will often require a greater number of treatments than PicoSure lasers to remove a tattoo. Each additional treatment potentially increases the patient’s risk of damage or a less than desirable result.
I can be reached in Austin, TX at my new location inside Austin Medspa @ 512-479-9997.