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Tattoo removal
















Why would I want tattoo removal?

Tattoos can seem a great idea when they are first performed. Over the years, Tattoos can be removed by laser, surgery or dermabrasionhowever, fashions and tastes change, making a design outdated and unwanted. Also, a tattoo on a visible part of the body may be a problem for certain jobs, where the design or tattoo itself may be considered inappropriate. Commonly, a tattoo has been performed of a partners' name - this may be an unwanted reminder in the event of a subsequent break-up of the relationship.


What options are there for tattoo removal?

There are a number of available techniques, including Laser, dermabrasion and surgical excision.

  • Laser - this is the most common method and uses Laser light to destroy the tattoo pigments. Different lasers are required for differing tattoo pigment colours, and multiple treatments may be needed. Tattoos with many different colours can be difficult to treat and only partial removal may be the best outcome even after numerous treatment sessions. Read more about laser tattoo removal here.

  • Dermabrasion - this technique essentially uses a hand-held tool to 'rub away' the top layer of skin. The tattoo will appear brighter after the first treatment. A dressing is changed daily, which soaks up tattoo dye as it leaches out of the abraded skin. Repeat treatments may be needed, as may deeper dermabrasion. Complications include scarring, infection and residual pigment remaining.

  • Excision - depending on where the tattoo is, the entire area may be able to be removed and stitched closed. This will leave a scar 2-3 times longer than the tattoo, and as with all scars, could form a raised and lumpy keloid or hypertrophic scar. If the skin in the area is quite tight (such as the forearm), then serial excision can be used - this is where 2 or more procedures are performed, the remaining skin being allowed to 'stretch' after each procedure. If the tattoo is large, however, then a skin graft may be needed to take the place of the tattoo.



So which procedure should I have?

All people are different, and so no one procedure is right for everybody. Your surgeon will be able to discuss the options with you, tailoring the correct procedure to your skin type, tattoo size, and area of body.



Other SurgeryWise articles

You may also be interested to read our articles on dermabrasion, Laser or other Cosmetic surgery articles



Many procedures involving skin resurfacing, Laser or excision can result in unfavourable scarring, wound infection, or bleeding. This list of risks is not exhaustive, and you should discuss possible complications with your specialist. Whilst these risks will seem very worrysome, and indeed can be serious, it should also be borne in mind that many people have no postoperative problems whatsoever.

The information provided is as a guide only and you should discuss matters fully with your specialist before deciding if this is the right procedure for you. Please also read our disclaimer






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