Tattoo removal procedure helps to get rid of undesirable tattoos from any place in the body.
Our human body is equipped to remove the normal small particles on the surface of our skin. The tattoo is made permanent by using much bigger particles of tattoo ink that is hard to eliminate by human metabolism. Therefore, to remove the permanent tattoos, few treatment options are available, which include laser tattoo removal, chemical peels, dermabrasion and surgical excision.
Consultation with a Plastic Surgeon for Tattoo Removal
If you have decided to remove your tattoo, consult a good plastic surgeon to discuss the course of treatment. The surgeon will consider several factors before recommending the solution, like:
• The size of the tattoo and its location
• Your medical history, including any surgeries
• Your current medications
• Any allergies or current treatments
Based on these factors, the surgeon will choose the best treatment for your tattoo removal. For example, smaller tattoos are best to remove with surgical excision while laser treatment is best for tattoos with certain inks.
Be open with the surgeon about your tattoo removal goals. The tattoo removal procedure may accompany several side effects like scarring, permanent skin discoloration, infections and delay in healing. Hence, talk to your surgeon about your apprehensions and make sure to clear all your doubts.
The Tattoo Removal Procedure
Tattoo removal is a minor surgical procedure, and the surgeon will usually administer local anesthesia to start the treatment.
Laser Tattoo Removal
It is the most popular tattoo removal procedures and is often the safest too.
During the treatment, the surgeon will suggest you to wear eye-shielding glasses to protect your eyes from the high-intensity rays. The laser light used will only penetrate the top layer of the skin and only the tattoo particles will absorb the laser beam, without affecting the inner layer of your skin.
As your body cannot remove the tattoo particles naturally, the high-intensity laser beam is used to break up the tattoo particles into smaller pieces that the body can easily clear away The surgeon will first test the reaction of the skin with varying intensity of the laser to determine the best energy level. If it is a black tattoo, then any wavelength of the laser is possible to remove. In the case of colored tattoo inks, only certain laser wavelengths can treat particular color pigments.
Laser tattoo removal is not a single process. You will require more than two sessions to remove the tattoo entirely. Moreover, factors like the size and color of the tattoo, your age and the color of your skin determine the number of sessions. There will be an interval of few weeks between two sessions of laser treatment, which will provide enough time for your body to remove the treated pigments.
In the dermabrasion treatment, the surgeon removes top layer of the skin by a high-speed rotating device. This will remove the tattoo pigments along with the skin. The concerned device will generally contain a wheel or an abrasive brush.
This procedure may be highly painful and therefore, some surgeons may administer general anesthesia during this procedure. Depending on the size of the tattoo, the procedure may also require more than one session.
In surgical excision, the surgeon uses a scalpel to cut the tattooed skin and the remaining skin surrounding it. This treatment is not feasible for large tattoos. Moreover, it can leave a scar at the location where the skin underwent stitching after making the cut. It is perhaps one of the rare procedures of tattoo removal.
Chemical peeling is effective in removing the top layer of the tattooed skin along with the tattoo. Generally, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel, which is a mild acid, is used for tattoo removal.
Recovering from Tattoo Removal Treatment
For all kind of tattoo removal procedures, the affected area is wrapped up in a bandage or gauze. The surgeon will advise you the proper ways to take care of the treated area and provide you with some medications.
Depending on the type of laser removal treatment, your recovery period will differ.
Laser Tattoo Removal
Immediately after the treatment, an ice pack will help to calm the burning sensation. The surgeon will apply an antibiotic cream and bandage the treated area.
Your daily care routine will involve cleaning the wound with regular water using a prescribed soap and apply an antibiotic cream on it. The wound must be kept covered at all times until it completely heals, which may take about 5 to 8 days. Throughout the complete laser treatment, you may wear sunscreen while going out in the sun.
Similar to the laser tattoo treatment, dermabrasion also requires you to clean the wound with soap and normal water daily following with the application of the antibiotic cream. The treated area must remain covered with the dressing provided by the surgeon until it heals completely.
Dermabrasion procedure may take more time to heal than laser tattoo removal, typically around 10 to 15 days.
This procedure may require you to take rest for the first two days after the procedure. You can remove the dressing only on the advice of the doctor to clean it up, apply antibiotic cream and dress the wound back.
Chemical peeling treatment will heal a lot faster than dermabrasion and surgical excision, usually within a week. You should clean your wound daily and dress it back after applying the recommended antibiotic cream.
Sometimes, tattoo removal procedures may not help in removing the tattoo entirely and may result in permanent scarring irrespective of the type of treatment. Hence, makes sure that you are aware of all the associated facts before you go for a tattoo removal procedure.