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What to expect during your laser tattoo removal surgery MARK A. SCHUSTERMAN, MD, FACS

Fellow of the American College of Surgeons American Society of Plastic Surgeons American Board of Plastic Surgery American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery American Board of Cosmetic Surgery Association of American Physicians and Surgeons Texas Surgical Society Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons

Having a tattoo entails some pain and discomfort. However if in the future, if for some reason or the other you decide to have your tattoo removed, it can be done, but through a lengthy and perhaps painful procedure called laser tattoo removal.

Laser tattoo removal is carried out using a laser. It does not leave as many scars as older laser tattoo removal methods. However, laser tattoo removal cannot be carried out in a single setting. It is based on the size and color of the tattoo that the number of treatments is decided. Tattoos may be removed within 2-4 or more visits to a Houston medical spa.

Evaluation of laser tattoo therapy

It is during your first consultation with your surgeon that your tattoo is evaluated, and the number of sessions you have to undergo is decided. There are various factors that determine the number of sessions like your age, the size of the tattoo if it is a professional or amateur tattoo, the color of your skin and the depth of the extension of the tattoo pigment.

During the Houston laser tattoo removal process, you will first have to wear protective eye shields. Then, your skin’s reaction is tested to determine the right laser energy for your laser removal treatment. Then, a hand piece is placed against your skin surface, and the laser light is activated. Each pulse of the laser light feels like a rubber band snapping against your skin.

No anesthesia

While smaller tattoos require fewer pulses, larger ones need more which is spread over several laser treatments and multiple visits. You find your tattoo growing lighter with each visit. An ice pack is applied on the tattoo immediately after the treatment, and you will be asked to apply a topical antibiotic cream or ointment. The tattoo site is also protected using a bandage and should be covered by a sun block when you are in the sun.

Usually, laser tattoo removal is carried out without any anesthesia. However based on the location of the tattoo, and your pain endurance, your doctor may use some painkiller injection or topical anesthesia cream on the tattoo site.

Side effects

Basically, there are minimal side effects associated with laser tattoo removal. The side effects you can expect are an infection at the tattoo site, lack of complete pigment removal and the possibility of laser tattoo removal leaving you with a permanent scar.

There is also a chance of hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation where the treated skin ends up paler or darker than the surrounding skin. In addition to this, there is a possibility of cosmetic tattoos like eyeliner, lip liner and eyebrows darkening after laser tattoo removal. It is only after further treatment of these darkened tattoos that you see a fading in your tattoo.

Safety and insurance

The latest advancements in technology have resulted in safe laser tattoo removal. However as tattoo removal is a personal option, and basically a cosmetic procedure, most insurance companies don’t provide coverage for it unless it is medically necessary for you to undergo laser tattoo removal.

Moreover, most surgeons and dermatologists require full payment on the day of laser tattoo removal. So discuss the costs of laser tattoo removal, and get them in writing before you actually undergo laser tattoo removal.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment with the renowned plastic surgeon and breast & body specialist Dr. Mark Schusterman. Take your first steps to a more beautiful you.

1200 Binz St Suite 1198, Houston, TX 77004