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Tattoo Removal
Tattoo Removal

Tattoo removal Tattoos are injections of colored ink into the skin, resulting in permanent decorative images. Some people have one small tattoo, while others literally cover their body, to symbolize their love of something, or someone. Others get tattoos because they think they look cool, or to show off. There are many reasons why people choose to decorate their skin with tattoos. On the flip side, there are many reasons why people choose to remove the tattoo.

Here is a typical scenario: There are those who believe they are in love and decide to get a tattoo with the name of that person, symbolizing their love, only to break up with that person. And then what happens? They are permanently stuck with the name of someone who is no longer a part of their lives. Or are they? Advancements in cosmetic surgery offer various tattoo removal techniques as a solution to get rid of those now unwanted decorations on the skin.

With the increasing popularity of various cosmetic surgery procedures, including tattoo removal, it is imperative that the prospective patient research and understand different issues like what the procedure can and cannot treat, inherent risks, costs, and other considerations. Keep in mind, cosmetic surgery is just that – a surgical procedure whose results cannot simply be erased. While the information contained in this website will provide you with a good introduction to tattoo removal, when considering this procedure, or any other cosmetic surgery procedure, we recommend that you consult a qualified provider with significant experience. Some important elements you should understand regarding tattoo removal include the following:

Who is an ideal candidate for this procedure?

There are many reasons why a person wants to have a tattoo removed. Even though reasons vary from person to person, here are some examples:
  • Outgrowing original reasons for wanting the tattoo.
  • Starting a new job and would like to clean the skin’s appearance.
  • Regretting or embarrassed about a certain tattoo on your body.
However these reasons are not the only factors that determine a qualified candidate for tattoo removal. A patient should have realistic goals and expectations for the procedure, and must be in good physical and mental health. Patients must first consult with a specialist, either a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist and should think carefully about their expectations and discuss them with the doctor.

Where do I begin?

For those who decide on having a tattoo removed, the first step is to find a qualified specialist who will perform the procedure. has created an easy and effective way for patients to find a cosmetic surgeon online. For more information please

During the consultation, the doctor and the patient discuss issues such as the patient’s reasons for wanting the tattoo removed and the various options available for the procedure. This visit gives the doctor a chance to view the tattoo and evaluate the options. The removal procedure will be discussed in detail, as well as the risks, limitations, and benefits. If the tattoo removal involves several sessions, the treatment plan will include details on how long each session takes, and how often the patient should return for following visits, and how long the entire treatment process will take.

Types of Tattoo Removal procedures

Various methods are used to remove a tattoo. The effectiveness of the removal depends on the depth of the ink and the types and colors of inks used. Here is a brief description of the more common methods:

Excision: This is where the surgeon surgically removes the skin.

Dermabrasion: Dermabrasion involves the scraping of skin to remove the tattoo.

Laser: Multiple laser treatments can be applied to break up the tattoo ink within the skin.

Salabrasion: This is a relatively older method, where the area is literally rubbed very aggressively with salt or a salt sanding block.

If you would like to know more about other tattoo removal methods, please ask your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist.

How is this procedure performed?

How the tattoo is removed depends upon the procedure. Here are descriptions of those listed above:

Excision: For a small tattoo, excision involves removing the tattooed area of skin and then stitching it closed. For a larger tattoo, the skin is removed and a skin graft from another part of the body is used to cover the area.

Dermabrasion: Dermabrasion uses a rotary abrasive tool to sand off the layers of the skin, thus obliterating the tattoo. The details of the procedure are explained in the Dermabrasion section. offers a section dedicated to this procedure. Simply

Laser: The surgeon can control the width of the laser beam as well as the wavelength (or color) of the light. Different wavelengths are used to destroy different colors of ink. Precise focusing makes it possible to eliminate the tattoo without damaging the surrounding skin.

Two to six treatments are usually needed, depending on the size of the tattoo. The treatment is relatively painless. Patients have described the sensation like a lightly stretched rubber band snapped against the skin. Afterwards, the treated area may feel somewhat like a mild sunburn. The tattoo fades as the area heals, usually disappearing completely within a month or two. Not all tattoos, however, can be removed completely and leave just a shadow.

Salabrasion: Salabrasion is an age-old procedure where salt water is applied to the surface and a sanding device is used to abrade the area. These alternatives are often painful and prone to scarring.

What are the risks to having a tattoo removed?

The risks involved also vary depending upon the method used to remove the tattoo. With salabrasion, the procedure leaves a significant scar. With dermabrasion the most common risk is a change in skin pigmentation. The same risks apply with laser removal. Since the laser is removing pigment from the tattoo, some of your normal skin pigmentation may also be removed and this may be permanent. This would result in a lighter area of skin where the tattoo was. Excision carries the most risks for infection or other complications. However, these risks can be reduced if performed by a qualified physician.

What are the costs of a tattoo removal?

The costs of tattoo removal, primarily depends upon the type of procedure. Unfortunately, in any case, the costs of having a tattoo removed are a lot more than the costs of getting the tattoo. Costs can vary depending upon the size of the tattoo. For laser removal, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, treatment varies from $100 for a small, single-color tattoo with removal in one to two sessions to $500 per treatment to remove larger, multicolored body art in as many as eight visits. And these costs are per session. Costs also vary depending on whether anesthesia is used or not, the geographic location of the procedure, and other associated costs.

Ten questions patients should ask their surgeon about Tattoo Removal

To gain a more thorough understanding about tattoo removal, and help form realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient view before and after photographs of the surgeon’s previous patients and speak with them. It is also important for patients to ask questions about anything they do not understand about the procedure. Here are some recommended questions:
  1. Is what I described realistic?
  2. Where will the tattoo removal be performed and how long will it take?
  3. In my case, what technique is most appropriate in helping me achieve my cosmetic goal?
  4. What kind of anesthesia will be used during the surgery?
  5. How much does tattoo removal cost and what elements factor into that cost like hospital fees, anesthesia, and so on?
  6. What is the surgeon’s level of experience in performing tattoo removal?
  7. What percentage of patients experience complications with tattoo removal?
  8. What is the surgeon’s policy about correcting or repeating the procedure if the first tattoo removal operation does not meet agreed upon results?
  9. What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scaring, activity level, and so on?
  10. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended? provides information about plastic / cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. However, the medical information provided is not the same as medical advice – the application of medical treatment to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend that you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want the professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

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