Laser Tattoo Removal at the Adare Clinic.
Prior to laser treatment of tattoos, a number of surgical techniques were used to remove tattoos, including surgical excision and skin grafting, dermabrasion and cryotherapy. All of these treatments resulted in some degree of scarring. The first use of lasers for tattoo removal was in the 1960’s with the Q-switched ruby laser. Since then other lasers have been developed to treat tattoos. The most widely used lasers for tattoo removal are the Q-switched ND: YAG, ruby and alexandrite lasers.
How much does laser tattoo removal cost?
For most patients, pricing is a factor in their decision to get a tattoo removed. Prices of tattoo removal vary, depending on the size and type of tattoo you have. In general it costs about ten times as much to get a tattoo removed as it costs to have it applied. Before starting any treatments, it is important that the patient realises that tattoos do take multiple sessions to remove. Treatment packages are available and pricing will be discussed during your initial consultation. The patient books in for an initial consultation and the tattoo is assessed. The Doctor cannot know precisely how many treatments a tattoo will need to be fully removed but the tattoo will be assessed for how easily itshouldremove. If the patient decides to go ahead with laser tattoo removal a patch test will be done in their skin with the laser by the Doctor and the patient can start with laser treatment 2 weeks later. Tattoo removal is not currently covered by Health Insurance.
- Laser tattoo removal up to 1cm- 80.00 Euro per treatment
- Laser tattoo removal up to 3 cm-120.00 Euro per treatment
- Laser tattoo removal up to 5cm – 180.00 Euro per treatment
- Laser tattoo removal up to 12cm-260.00 Euro per treatment
- Laser tattoo removal up to 17cm- 370.00 Euro per treatment
- Laser tattoo removal up to 25 cm- 500.00 Euro per treatment
Will it leave a scar?
When proper laser protocols and patient aftercare are utilized, it is uncommon for a patient to scar after a Q-switched laser treatment. However, it isverycommon for a tattoo to feature pre-existing scarring from when it was applied originally by the tattoo artist. The Q-switched laser will remove the ink not the scarring. Some Doctors may offer fractional CO2 laser at a later stage to help with scarring if necessary. While scarring after tattoo removal is not common, it is possible. It occurs in less than 5% of patients, mostly those with professional tattoos. Patient compliance with aftercare is very important, as is experience of the operator. Excessive fluence (power) when treating a tattoo can lead to unwanted side effects and should be avoided. Also patient after care, not picking at blisters and scabs and following post-operative instructions is also very important.
What colours can be treated with laser tattoo removal?
The Q-switched ND: YAG laser at the Adare clinic has been show to clear amateur blue-black tattoo effectively. Red pigment also can be treated effectively. The Q-switched Alexandrite laser will remove green tattoos in addition to blues and blacks but not yellow and orange.
Does tattoo removal cream work?
There is no evidence that tattoo removal creams work. At best, it might fade or lighten a tattoo.
How long will it take to remove my tattoo?
Some patients wish to remove a tattoo prior to a big event like a wedding or prior to starting a Job. The tattoo removal process also relies on the body’s ability to eliminate ink from the skin and this may not be predictable. It is not unusual for a body to take over a year to completely eliminate ink. To allow the skin enough time to heal between treatments and the body’s immune system to flush away ink; a minimum of 8 weeks between laser sessions is needed. As multiple treatment sessions will be needed this will also need to be taken into consideration.
In general terms most patients need between 6-8 treatment sessions, some will see a complete removal in 4-6 sessions and other may need 10-20+ sessions if they are darker skin types( Fitzpatrick 4-6) or have multi-layered( the tattoo is a cover-up), multi-coloured tattoos, the amount of ink ( vividness of tattoo, if it was professionally applied) or significant scarring. The location of the tattoo is also important; tattoos on the peripheries (hands, feet etc.) have a poorer blood supply and do not clear as well as other tattoos. The speed of the removal depends on patient factors and their tattoo.
Does tattoo removal hurt?
Laser tattoo removal does involve some level of pain. It is uncomfortable but not unbearable. A patch test will be done beforehand which will give the patient an idea of what to expect. The CURAS Q-switched ND:Yag laser used by the Adare clinic has inbuilt cooling that makes the procedure a lot more comfortable and most patients tolerate it very well. Topical anaesthetic (numbing cream) or oral analgesia (painkillers) can be offered on request.
Are there side effects with laser tattoo removal?
All patients should expect some level of side effects. The most common side effects are: redness, tenderness, swelling, blistering, scabs, bruising, hyper pigmentation, hypo pigmentation.
Side effects of the Q-switched ND: Yag laser are mainly due to absorption of the light by pigmented cells in the skin. Up to 50% of treated patients show some discolouration of the skin with hypo pigmentation being the most common. This can be permanent in 10% of patients.
Tattoos consist of insoluble ink particles that have been injected intradermally and become ingested by phagocytic cells. These phagocytic cells retain the tattoo ink in the skin and remain relatively stable until the larger particles become fragmented as in the process of tattoo removal by Q-switched lasers.
The dyes and solvents used in tattoos are often closely guarded trade secrets making it almost impossible to predict the response to treatment by laser. As with paints and dyes, colours may be made from a number of individual pigments. Recent market analysis identified 60 trade colours from 18 chemical compounds. Therefore it is not possible to say that colours that appear visually similar will respond in the same way when treated by laser. This is compounded by the fact that many tattoos pigments contain metal salts, especially older tattoos and therefore can respond unpredictably when treated. It is not uncommon to see a tattoo change colour after initial treatment making it more difficult to remove.
Allergic reactions: Not many patients display an allergic reaction at the time of tattooing, despite the presence of metal salts, chromium oxide, cobalt or cadmium sulphide- all of which can cause swelling, erythema, pruritus (itch) or even granulomatous reactions. However, the Q-switched laser-induced extracellular fragmented and mobilised pigments can be recognised by the patients’ immune system as a foreign antigen, potentially triggering an allergic response. This can initiate a localised as well as a systemic allergic reaction.
An initial dermatology consultation is required to properly diagnose and recommend a treatment plan.
THE ADARE CLINIC
4 Clare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1 676 9810 Dublin
Adare, Co. Limerick, Ireland
Unit 2, Harvey’s Quay, Limerick
Tel: +353 (0)61 395410 Adare