Tattoos are a form of body art, with origins dating back thousands of years. In today’s culture, many young people decide to get tattoos as a way to express themselves, assert their individuality, or honor a loved one. It is estimated that 20% of individuals in the United States have tattoos. And for those who regret this decision, we now have laser tattoo removal.
The progression of life phases are often accompanied by changes in attitudes. So a tattoo that might have been appealing as a teenager is perceived differently during later years, when self expression is not felt to be as important as it once was.
Furthermore, there are also social stigmas and stereotypes associated with people that have tattoos. They are commonly seen as aggressive, self destructive and antisocial. This can make it difficult to get a job.
It is estimated that nearly 50% of individuals who get tattoos experience regret later on. Fortunately, modern technology is able to achieve laser tattoo removal. However each case depends on the size, depth, colors, and types of ink involved.
Laser Tattoo Removal- How It Works
At a cellular level, tattoo ink exists as large particles of pigment suspended in the dermis. They are too big to be removed by the body’s natural system.
The energy from the laser is absorbed by the ink color, which then breaks up into particles that are then absorbed by the body’s immune system. This is a slow process that takes several weeks. Usually more than one session is needed to completely remove the design.
Different wavelengths are needed to remove different colors. Here are some examples with the Q-Switched laser:
Nd: Yag 532nm laser is a green light that is absorbed by red and orange pigments
Ruby 694nm laser is a red light that is absorbed by green tattoo ink which is highly absorbed by melanin. There is risk of unwanted side effects and colorations with patients of darker skin tones.
Alexandrite 755nm is also red and is absorbed by green pigments. It is not, however, readily absorbed by melanin.
Nd: YAG 1064 creates a light that is somewhat resistant to being absorbed by melanin. So this would not present the risk of overheating darker skin, causing scars and other unwanted consequences.
Multicolored tattoo designs can be treated with lasers that have dye modules available. This mechanism converts 532nm to 650nm or 585nm, allowing a single laser to address the different colors.
Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment with the Spectra VRMIII By Lutronic
A specific brand of the Q-Switched laser is Spectra VRMII. This is an Nd:YAG system that has been demonstrated across numerous cases to safely and effectively remove all colors of tattoo ink through multiple wavelengths. Short pulses of intense light are used to removing the tattoo. The pulse duration can be modulated through a Q-switch mode, or a long pulse mode. Precision is attained by fixing the width of the pulse transmission to be the shortest possible width to avoid damage to areas outside the tattoo design.
Tattoo removal procedures take anywhere from 5-15 minutes per session. The number of sessions depend on the size of the tattoo, the ink that was used and the level color saturation involved.
Dr. Umar performed a laser tattoo removal procedure on the patient below in Los Angeles using the Spectra laser.
Laser Tattoo Removal Treatments in Los Angeles
Los Angeles laser tattoo removal treatments should be performed by board certified dermatologists who specialize in this area.
Click here to read about another type of laser treatment.