For some people with a tattoo, it is a painful reminder of a regrettable relationship or rash decision. For others, it simply doesn’t reflect who they are today. In the not so distant past, there were few options available for tattoo removal. Dr. Paul Stanislaw, a Facial Plastic Surgeon in Avon is performing laser treatments for those who want to undo that tattoo.
“Prior to lasers there were few options for tattoo removal and none of them were scar free. There is dermabrasion, which is essentially using a sander to sand the skin to a level below the tattoo to remove it, and surgical excision. Both of these options were trading off rather large scars for the tattoo. In most situations excision of the tattoo is not a practical solution especially when the tattoo is large or in a cosmetically sensitive area.
Fortunately, technology has provided a better alternative. FDA-approved laser treatments are now available that specifically target the tattoo ink. The Spectrum Q-Switched Yag offers two different laser wavelengths to target both dark and colored tattoo pigments. The laser energy breaks up the pigment within the epidermis, resulting in small enough pieces that can be naturally eliminated by the body.
Treatment involves a series of appointments spaced 4–6 weeks apart. Certain pigments resolve more easily than others, so the number of sessions will vary from person to person. Tattoos done in darker pigments are easier to remove, but tattoos with yellows and light blues will lighten considerably, but often not be completely removed. Other factors include the type of ink used, age of tattoo and skin color. Costs will vary based on the size of the tattoo and the number of sessions required.
“Lasers should only be used by appropriately trained medical professions such as an M.D. or an R.N. under the guidance of a physician,” cautioned Dr. Stanislaw. “There is some risk associated with this treatment so be sure your medical professional is properly trained.”
There is minimal discomfort associated with the treatment and during the recovery period. The treated area should be kept covered to prevent scabs from forming. Patients should avoid sun exposure and use a good sunblock containing 9% zinc or higher every day between treatment sessions.
“After each laser session, you can expect your tattoo to become less visible,” said Dr. Stanislaw. “Your final results will depend on the tattoo pigment and your skin tone. Once most of the art is faded, the body continues the process.”
Dr. Stanislaw notes to be a candidate for laser tattoo removal, the tattoo must be at least 6-weeks old before treatment. Unfortunately, patients who had an allergic reaction to tattoo ink are not candidates for the laser, so surgical excision would be the only treatment available. Tattoo excision is performed in the office using injectable local anesthetic. The patient is awake during the procedure. Once the area is numb, the tattoo is excised and sutures are used to close the defect. The sutures are usually removed in a week.
According to www.creditdonkey.com, men and women alike find themselves with a tattoo they regret. Surprisingly, more women have tattoos then men, 58% and 42% respectively. The younger you are when you receive the tattoo the more likely you are to regret it. As much as 25% of this younger population express regret over having gotten a tattoo. When looking at all age groups with tattoos, 17% of patients regret having a tattoo.
Reasons cited for having tattoo removal include tattoos that are poor quality or are fading, the design of the tattoos are no longer relevant (i.e. name of ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend), the desire for a more professional work appearance, including military and law enforcement careers, and simply having out grown the desire for a tattoo.
Dr. Stanislaw has seen a growing demand for tattoo removal. “It’s changed a lot over the past couple of years because the removal process has improved. The advanced technology has made it safer and more effective, however I urge everyone to think twice about getting a tattoo in the first place.”
Stanislaw Facial Plastic Surgery Center, led by Board Certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Paul Stanislaw, MD, specializes exclusively in the artistry of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery to erase the signs of aging and reveal a more beautiful appearance. The entire practice is dedicated to cosmetic enhancement of the face, head, and neck through the use of both surgical and non-surgical procedures, injectables, spa treatments and medical grade skincare products. The practice is located at 35 Nod Rd. Suite 204 in Avon, CT. To schedule a consultation visit https://www.stanislawmd.com or call 860 409-1515.
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