Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment
Consultation and Assessment
If you are considering laser tattoo removal the first step is to arrange an appointment for a no-obligation, free, consultation with us.
Your tattoo will be assessed. We will photograph your tattoo for our records and will continue to take photographs all the way through your treatment so that you can see the results as we go.
We will be able to give you an idea of how much time will be needed for each treatment session and of how many sessions you are likely to need. You might require more, or less treatments than we estimate or your tattoo could shrink during treatment, shortening the time for each treatment, so these estimates can change constantly. We will keep you informed of any changes in our estimates as we go.
There is very little preparation needed on your part, but the preparation you need to do is important.
Try to get your skin as pale as possible.
It is really important that you stay out of the sun and off sunbeds for as long as you possibly can before treatment. If there is a lot of natural pigment in your skin there is a high risk of 'depigmentation'. This means that the laser could damage your natural pigments, leaving the area pale, even when the rest of you is tanned. Depigmentation can take months or even years to heal and there is some evidence to show that the depigmentation can sometimes last for the rest of your life.
Eat before the treatment.
A reduced blood sugar level can make you feel faint or queasy. It is VITAL that you eat something before coming for treatment, especially if you feel anxious. Have something decent to eat an hour beforehand. Try not to have too much sugar, though, as sugar levels drop very quickly. A properly balanced meal is best.
To help cope with the sensation of the Laser on your skin, we can apply an ice pack before and after the treatment. If you prefer an anaesthetic prior to your appointment, you can apply 'Emla' cream about 2 hours before your appointment. This can be bought from the Pharmacy in the Chemist. It will slightly numb the skin and makes the treatment less uncomfortable.
The treatment is actually really simple as long as all
our safety procedures are followed. Once you are comfortable on the
treatment bed you will be given special goggles to wear. It is VITAL that
you do not remove these goggles under any circumstances, as the laser can
cause serious damage to your eyes.
The door to the laser room will be locked so that nobody can enter accidentally whilst treatment is under way. The room will stay locked until the safety key is removed from the laser after treatment.
The laser will be held just above your skin and the operator will use a foot pedal to control the bursts of laser energy. The pulse is quite uncomfortable. The sensation has been described as like being 'snapped' by a large elastic band or like being splashed with hot fat. If you would prefer we can apply an anaesthetic cream beforehand to make it a little easier for you.
If you would like to relax during your treatment you can bring an ipod with you. Any equipment you bring must be kept in your pocket and any earphones must be made of a non reflective material.
How The Treatment Works
Tattoo removal by Q-switched laser uses a process known as the 'photoacoustic effect'. When the laser energy is absorbed by the tattoo pigment, an extremely high temperature is generated - typically thousands of degrees. However, this high temperature is not sustainable and so it 'collapses.'
This produces an acoustic wave to form around the pigment particles. The result of this wave is a shattering of the particles of ink into smaller fragments. The body's own defence mechanisms then remove these smaller particles leaving behind the larger tattoo pigmentation. Subsequent treatments will induce the same 'shattering' effect on the remaining ink particles until they eventually all disappear.
Home-made, amateur tattoos usually require between 4 and 6 repeat sessions to remove the ink completely, while professional tattoos can require up to 12 or more (depending on how much ink is contained within the tattoo).
The main advantage of using the Q-switched laser is that there is virtually no possibility of scarring! Since there is no lasting thermal insult to the skin there is no time for tissue destruction and no time for subsequent scar formation, and does not disturb the surrounding skin.
Tattoos really do disappear over time and, in many cases, leave absolutely no trace behind them. Today we use the YAG Laser plus the Alexandrite Trivantage By Candela laser to carry out this treatment with excellent results.