The Q-switched Nd: YAG laser is used for tattoo removal. Tattoos are created by injecting colored pigment into small deep holes made in the skin and the marks or designs are relatively permanent. When people subsequently want their tattoos removed, most physicians today consider laser tattoo removal one of the best methods. The Q-switched Nd:YAG is the most frequently used laser for safe and effective tattoo removal, leaving the skin natural-looking. During treatment, pulses of light from the laser are directed onto the tattoo, breaking up the tattoo pigment. Over the next several weeks the body’s macrophages remove the treated pigmented areas.
Q-switched laser systems can now remove all types of tattoos with little or no scaring. The Q-switched Nd: YAG laser is especially suited to the removal of dark blue and black inks. The frequency double Q-switched Nd: YAG laser is used to remove red and orange tattoos.
How long is each treatment? How many treatments will I need?
Treatment depends on the size, location, and coloring of the tattoo in addition to the patient’s age and skin type. Our nurses will determine the number of treatments necessary.
Is tattoo removal painful?
While pain tolerance is an individual matter, most people tolerate the Q-switched Nd: YAG laser well and describe the sensation as a rubber band snap to the skin. The majority of patients require no anesthesia, though topical anesthetic is an option for sensitive areas.
You will need to shave the area to be treated the night before or the morning of the scheduled appointment – it is that easy. It is sometimes even possible to do a second treatment during the same visit, after waiting about 20 minutes.
There is no downtime or recovery time after each treatment. Keep the treated area clean and dry while it is healing. Clean the area gently with soap and water and then gently pat the area dry. You may apply cool compresses as necessary for 24 hours after the laser treatment to help reduce discomfort and inflammation. You may take plain Tylenol, but avoid aspirin (it can increase the risk of bruising and/or bleeding). Do not pick at the scab or allow the skin to become scraped, as this may result in infection and scarring. Shaving should be avoided in the treated area until it is completely healed. Do not wear makeup on the treatment area for 48 hours. Wear a sunblock with an SPF of 25 or higher over the area for 3 months following the treatment. Avoid saunas, physical activity, baths, steam, and hot showers for 24 hours.