Brian S. Glatt, MD, FACS, of the Premier Plastic Surgery Center of New Jersey in Morristown, NJ was recently interviewed about tattoo removal:
* How does tattoo removal work?
Tattoos are almost always removed with laser treatments. Different types of lasers target different colors within a tattoo. They may also be surgically removed, but this always leaves a potentially unsightly scar, which may be worse than the tattoo!
* How long does it take? How many sessions does it usually take?
Each laser treatment only takes about 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the tattoo and how many different colors are within it. Multiple sessions are always required. Usually, it takes at least 5 sessions and sometimes up to 10-15 separate sessions to remove all evidence of a tattoo.
* Are there always results?
While laser treatments are usually quite successful at removing most tattoos, some tattoos are more resistant to treatment than others. This is usually due to the tattoo being applied by an “amateur” tattoo artist who may be using tattoo ink and/or equipment which is not professional grade. These types of amateur tattoos have ink dispersed in multiple levels of the skin as opposed to a fine even layer and depth, which is characteristic of a professionally done tattoo.
* What pigments are erased best?
By far the easiest pigment to erase is black. Red and green colors are among the hardest to eradicate.
* How much does it cost?
Each treatment session can cost anywhere from $200-$750. Some practitioners offer package deals for multiple treatment sessions.
* Will there be any remnants of the tattoo?
While many tattoos can be completely erased, some may still leave a shadow of their former self behind. Many will simply become faded or much lighter than they were, and not completely go away. Generally, once they are that faded they can be more easily camouflaged with makeup.