Reduction of many colors of tattoo ink, no downtime

A Q switch Nanosecond laser is used to target multiple colors of tattoo ink.  Sky blue, bright green, and yellow tan will not respond with this laser.  Treatment is fast, but there is some discomfort associated with treatment.  Multiple sessions will be required, but a response is noted after each treatment.  The tattoo ink commonly darkens after treatment, followed by formation of a crust on the skin which then flakes off.  Treatments are spaced at least 4-8 weeks apart.

How does laser tattoo removal work?

The Q-Switched nanosecond laser is the workhorse for laser tattoo removal.  This laser emits two different wavelengths (colors of light), 1064nm and 532nm.  Extremely high amounts of energy are emitted in a very short (nanosecond range) duration, passing through the skin into the tattoo ink.  This high rate of energy causes the cells in the skin that hold the ink (fibroblasts) to literally explode and become vaporized.  The effect on the surface of the skin is a visible white frost which fades after a few minutes.  Because of the vaporization, the skin is not injured or burned by head like it would be with other types of laser treatment.  In the days and weeks after treatment, a small amount of the pigment is shuttled to the skin surface and expelled with a crust, and the remainder is absorbed into the body’s lymphatic system.  On the skin surface, there is a mild wound which will require care while it heals.  The tattoo will fade slightly, and after the skin heals it is ready to repeat the treatment.

What does laser tattoo removal feel like?

Laser tattoo removal is uncomfortable.  Many patients say it is slightly worse than getting the tattoo.  The advantage however is that it is a quick procedure which is over in just a few minutes.

How long does laser tattoo removal take?

Depending on the size and number of colors, treatments can take 5-30 minutes

How much does laser tattoo removal cost?

Treatment area is based upon the size of tattoo to be treated.  We will not likely be able to provide an accurate estimate without a consultation, but for an estimate please call our office at 563-588-0506.

How many sessions will I need?

Use our calculator to figure out an estimated number of sessions that may be required.  Please click on your skin type, body area, amount of ink, layering, scarring, and colors for the calculator to estimate treatment number.

How far apart are treatments spaced?

The best recommendation is a minimum of 7 weeks in between treatments this allows pigment containing cells to condense and become ready for the next treatment.  The tattoo can be re-treated technically as soon as the skin is healed, but it will likely require more treatments than if a 7 week period is chosen.  It is okay to wait longer than 7 weeks also.

What does the skin look like after I am finished with treatments?

In many cases we are able to completely remove all of the tattoo ink.  When this is the case, there will sometimes be a “ghosted” area of skin where the tattoo was present previously.  In other cases, some tattoo ink may be resistant to treatment and may be faintly present within the skin after the series of treatments.  If there is scar present within the skin as a result of the tattoo process, the scar will remain after treatment.

What is a picosecond laser?

A picosecond laser concentrates the energy in to 1/1000th the time of the nanosecond Q switch laser.  It is the newest technology in tattoo removal, and we do not own a picosecond laser at Dubuque ENT (maybe someday!!).

Most laser tattoo removal clinics start treatment with a q switch nanosecond laser like ours, and switch to the pico laser near the end of the series of treatments.  The analogy of a jackhammer is given: to break up concrete, you have to start with a jackhammer to break the slab into large pieces.  Next, you can use a sledge hammer to break it into smaller pieces.  This analogy is used with tattoo ink: The Q switch laser is used to break up the ink into smaller particles, the vast majority of which are cleared from the skin.  If any remains, a pico laser can be used to “sweep up” the rest.  If we are unable to completely clear your tattoo, we will happily provide you with a referral to an out of town laser clinic with a Pico laser.  No clinics in our area own or rent one of these lasers to our knowledge.

What colors can we not treat?

Our laser is extremely effective for some tattoo colors, and ineffective for a small number of other colors.  We believe in full transparency, and think it is important to know as much as possible about their treatments.  Other types (wavelengths) of lasers may be more effective for the “poor responders”, (Dye, ruby, alex lasers).

Excellent response: Black, blue, red

Good response: Dark blue, dark green, purple, orange, tan

Fair response: Brown

Poor response: Yellow tan, bright green, sky blue

What else can the tattoo removal laser be used for?

Our tattoo laser is GREAT at removing pigmented lesions on the face and body, and can also be used as a part of the “carbon peel” aka “hollywood peel”.