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How Does Tattoo Removal Work?

Did you know that out of the 25% or so Americans that have tattoos, nearly half of them eventually want a tattoo removed? If you’re one of them, you’re definitely not alone. But the common question we hear is, how does tattoo removal work? Here’s a good overview of the tattoo removal process:

how does tattoo removal workHow a Tattoo Works

To answer the questions of how tattoo removal works, we need to go back to the basics of what a tattoo is. Tattoo ink actually comprises of metal particles, and the combination of metal particles determines the tattoo pigment (lighter, darker or different color). Right when those metal particles enter your body, your immune system registers them as foreign bodies, and white blood cells attempt to engulf these metal particles. The problem is, they are way too big for the white blood cells to “eat”, so they can only chip away at them over time. This is also why tattoos tend to fade. All of that is good for the permanency of your tattoo. However, what happens when you want to remove a tattoo? Is it impossible? Not entirely.

Tattoo Removal Procedure with PicoSure

The most common type of tattoo removal is laser treatment. We use the PicoSure Laser, one of the most advanced lasers for this procedure. What this machine does is create really short laser pulses (a picosecond in length, hence the name). When these laser pulses are aimed at the tattoo, the sudden extreme heat hits a very precise point on these metal particles in the tattoo. The heat breaks apart the particles to make them smaller. Then, the white blood cells in your immune system can actually engulf the smaller, broken particles as opposed to before. Pretty much, the PicoSure laser just helps your immune system do the job that it’s been trying to do since you got the tattoo.

Will I see tattoo vanish before my eyes?

Well, not exactly. The initial laser treatment will immediately reduce a lot of the tattoo. The breaking apart of the particles has an immediate fading effect and “removes” most of the tattoo pigment. However, you will see still a blue/gray shadow of your tattoo. There are still many metal ink particles present. You need to let your immune system take care of it over time. Depending on the tattoo size, pigment and how long you’ve had it, you may need multiple treatments to continue to break apart the particles.

You can read more information on PicoSure tattoo removal

You can also call Severn River ENT Plastic and Laser Surgery at (410) 544-9988 or request an appointment online

For the safety of our patients we are now offering telehealth as an alternative to in-office visits. Call us at (410) 544-9988 for more information