Tattoo Removal

by Kathy Anne Resasco


How It Works:

The Palomar Q-YAG 5 System is a high-powered laser that removes unwanted tattoos and pigmented lesions (sunspots, freckles, etc.). It emits a highly focused beam of laser light, which passes harmlessly through the outer layer of the skin and is absorbed primarily by the tattoo ink or the excess pigment within the lesion.

As the light is absorbed, it is quickly converted to heat. The sudden rise in temperature within the treatment target fractures the ink or pigment into tiny particles. Tattoo ink fragments are carried away by the lymphatic system, while pigmented lesions are naturally shed from the skin one to two weeks after treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Kinds of Tattoos and Pigmented Lesions Can Be Treated?

A tattoo's color, depth, and the chemical composition of the ink all affect how it responds to laser light. Black, red, dark orange, and dark blue tattoos will usually respond relatively quickly to treatments with the Palomar Q-YAG 5. However, green, purple, brown, light orange, and light blue colors may require more treatments. In general, most tattoos can be successfully treated, given a sufficient number of treatments.

A wide range of pigmented lesions can also be treated, including freckles, sunspots and many brown-colored birthmarks.

Does It Hurt?

Since the laser light selectively targets the undesired ink or pigment, other tissues remain largely unaffected, and therefore most patients report little discomfort. Many people compare the sensation of the pulses entering the skin to the snap of a rubber band. If such "snaps" are too uncomfortable, your physician may offer you local anesthesia, but this is usually not necessary.

What Happens After Treatment?

Immediately after laser exposure, the treated areas may become whitish-colored and swell slightly. This whiteness subsides in about 30 minutes.

The swelling may last longer, but can be reduced by cooling the skin with an ice pack. The tattoo or pigmented lesion will fade over the next few weeks.



Four Months After 1st Treatment

 How Long Does It Take?

Depending on the size and location of the tattoo or lesion, each treatment usually takes about 10 to 30 minutes. Some faint tattoos and pigmented lesions will fade completely after only one treatment, though most may require five treatments or more. Treatments are spaced six to eight weeks apart to give your body sufficient time to fully eliminate loosened particles of ink or pigment.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Side effects are rare. When side effects do occur, they are usually mild and confined to the treatment target. Your physician can provide you with complete details.

What Are the Alternative Treatments?

The alternatives for pigmented lesion removal vary, depending on the nature of the lesion.

In the case of tattoo removal, however, laser treatment is the only effective method that is unlikely to cause any scarring. The alternatives to laser tattoo removal include surgical excision, salabrasion (using salt to burn away layers of skin), and chemical peels (using acid to burn away layers of skin). These methods not only cause scars, but can also be painful.

The Palomar Q-YAG 5 provides state-of-the-art laser treatment that yields excellent results without the perils and disadvantages of other procedures.


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