What type of laser will be used to remove my tattoo and how does it work?
The laser treatment is performed with the Accolade Q-switched alexandrite laser. The Accolade laser utilizes the latest laser technology to significantly lighten or completely remove your tattoo with minimal pain, little inconvenience, and few side effects. The laser emits a tiny, powerful beam of invisible light which passes harmlessly through normal skin, but is absorbed by the ink of the tattoo. As the ink particles absorb the energy, they break up into tiny fragments. Your body's natural cleansing system, called phagocytosis, then removes these fragments and the tattoo gradually fades away.
What kinds of tattoos will this laser remove?
The Accolade laser significantly lightens and removes many types of professional and amateur tattoos. It is particularly successful with tattoos made of blue, black, and green ink. This includes tattoos that have been applied as permanent cosmetics such as eye or brow liners. It is also effective for traumatic tattoos resulting from an injury.
Why is this laser treatment better than other methods of tattoo removal?
Other treatment options for the removal of unwanted tattoos include surgical excision(cutting the tattoo out), dermabrasion (sanding the tattoo out), salabrasion(using table salt to abrade the tattoo), chemical peels, as well as other laser modalities. These methods often produce unsatisfactory results because they replace the tattoo with a scar.
The Accolade laser is non-invasive, gentler and safer because it uses a principle known as selective photothermolysis. This means that the laser targets only the tattoo ink in the skin. Adjacent tissues are unaffected by the treatment.
How many treatment sessions are required to remove a tattoo?
The number of treatment sessions required depends on several factors. These include the age of the tattoo, its size and location, the depth of the ink in the skin, and the type and color of the ink used. In most cases amateur tattoos require fewer treatments than professionally applied tattoos.
Is the treatment uncomfortable?
Most patients describe the sensation of the treatments as a series of rubber band snaps to the skin. When the laser is pulsed, an initial warm, stinging sensation is experienced, but this quickly subsides. The majority of patients tolerate this slightly uncomfortable sensation without anesthetics. However, for patients with low tolerance levels, topical anesthetics or oral sedatives may be used.
What will the area look like following treatment?
Immediately following laser treatment, the skin will have a white discoloration.
The area surrounding the tattoo will be reddened and some swelling will occur.
These reactions are normal and will disappear over time. Maximum fading of the
tattoo will occur in the four to six week healing period between treatments. After
a complete recovery, your skin will look and feel normal. Your doctor can show you
before/after photos. Tattoo removal can be very challenging, and guarantees cannot
be made - especially for dark, large, complex tattoos. However, the favorable result
that can be obtained through multiple treatments and healing time can totally erase an
Will there be any "side effects"?
In most cases, the laser treatment leads to complete removal of the tattoo without significant side effects. However, since the ink used in tattoo parlors is not regulated, some patients may encounter only partial clearing after multiple treatment sessions. Occasionally, hypopigmentation (whitening) of the skin may also result. However, normal skin color should return within six to twelve months after treatment.
What type of expense will be incurred?
The procedure costs depend on the number of treatment sessions required. This will be determined during the initial consultation with your doctor. Laser treatment for tattoos, however, is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not usually covered by most insurance policies.
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