Information on Tattoo Removal

You can’t use the word “permanent” when talking about tattoos anymore.  A group of dermatological surgeons has found a way, well actually several ways, in recent years, to effectively and safely remove tattoos.

This is great news for people who no longer want their tattoo.  People who want to have tattoos removed is usually because of social and cultural reasons.  Not all tattoo removals are because of desire though, some are actually medically necessary.  It has been reported that people who have had their tattoos for years, all of a sudden, experience an allergic reaction.  These are usually rare cases. 

Certain colors in tattoos such as dark blue and black can be difficult to remove.  The newer ink and pastel colors may be difficult as well.  Professionally applied tattoos are usually done in a uniformed manner at the same depth.  Whereas, a private artist or homemade applied tattoo is done with an unsteady hand, which means the ink is applied at different depths it is not in a uniformed manner.

Because of a tattoo’s uniqueness, the removal procedure varies in each individual case.  Tattoo removal procedures are usually performed by a dermatological surgeon on an outpatient basis.  Local anesthesia is usually required, but some techniques may require general anesthesia or just sedation.

A few procedures are listed below.

Laser Surgery

Laser surgery – this method uses high intensity light pulsated on the skin to break up the pigments.  This method is commonly used because it is virtually a bloodless technique and found to be very effective.


Dermabrasion – this method uses a high-powered rotary brush to abrasively remove skin layers contaminated with ink.  This method, along with dressing techniques cause the ink to surface and be absorbed in the dressing.

Surgical excision

Surgical excision – this method is usually only performed in cases where no other option if effective.  A dermatological surgeon will cut out the layers of inked skin and sew the skin back together using sutures.  This method allows large sections of skin to be removed.  This method also allows deeper skin removal as may be required by professionally done tattoos.

Side effects from these procedures are usually minor.  As with any wound, the treated site is susceptible to infection.  Infection is the most severe side effect one can develop, but it can be prevented, with proper care, it shouldn’t be an issue.  Aside from infection, some may experience a discoloration of the skin in the treated area.  Scarring may occur in some individuals.  The treated site is susceptible to infection.  Because of the difficulty with removing certain colors some, may have a few remaining pigments.

No matter what the reason is for getting a tattoo removed, one should keep in mind as with any surgical procedure there may be risks involved.  It is always best to speak with a healthcare professional or specialist to discuss what procedure is right for you and the risk factors involved.

Sedatives, local and general anesthesia, carry their own risk factors.   Don’t forget to discuss these with the doctor as well.