Throughout the nation and in Oregon City, Oregon, it is inevitable that there will be patients with tattoos who will eventually want them removed or faded. While some patients want to completely remove a tattoo, others may require only that it be faded so they may place another tattoo in the area. Thanks to laser technology, many patients have successfully accomplished these goals with little hassle. Lasers have found their way into many facets of medicine from optometry to surgery to vein treatment to the removal of unwanted hair.
Advances in the technology have allowed laser tattoo removal to become the standard for many tattoo removal specialists. Previous techniques may have involved surgery and may have left unsightly scars. Today, laser removal methods allow patients to safely remove a tattoo in a far less invasive method than surgery.
Highly concentrated beams of light are used in this procedure. The beams are directed towards the skin where they will break up the ink particles, fragmenting them. The fragmented particles are then passed through the body's natural processes and cleaned up by scavenging cells. The number of sessions required to reach optimal results may vary depending on several factors including the depth of the ink. Patients are encouraged to speak with a specialist to obtain a rough estimate of the number of sessions required.
The surrounding skin is not damaged during this procedure, as the laser targets only the pigment. No incisions are required and the procedure is bloodless, however if multiple sessions are required blistering and pain become possibilities. There is also a possibility of scarring if multiple sessions are required, but this should be discussed with a professional.
While most tattoos can be removed with laser technology, some tattoos may not be completely removed. This may depend on several factors including the tattoo's size, location, application, age and color. Tattoos that are newer may be more difficult to remove than tattoos that are older. The patient's health and the ability of his or her body to heal may also play a role in the success of this procedure.
One question that many patients ask is whether or not laser tattoo removal hurts. The answer is yes, although each patient may have their own threshold of pain. The laser may feel different to each patient, but most patients experience some level of discomfort during the procedure. A local anesthetic ointment or an injectable local anesthetic may be used to lessen the pain, but patients are encouraged to discuss this with a professional at a reputable clinic.
During the procedure, patients may be required to wear protective eye goggles to protect against incidental exposure to the laser. The medical professional performing the procedure will test the skin's reaction to the laser and then choose the most effective energy. A small probe will then be activated against the tattoo and the rapid pulses of the laser will continue. Each session may involve 10 to 30 pulses from the laser, although this may vary.
Patients concerned with side effects should discuss these possibilities with a medical professional. Side effects that have been associated with this procedure include hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation. This is excessive color and excessive fading, respectively. Infection and the small possibility of scarring are also side effects associated with laser tattoo removal.
To better understand the procedure and to determine how many sessions may be required to reach optimal results (simple tattoos often require 2-4 sessions, while more complicated tattoos may require more), patients are encouraged to speak with a qualified professional.