Laser or surgical tattoo removal

Getting a tattoo is a procedure that has grown increasingly popular over the last few years. As the frequency of people obtaining a tattoo increased, there was an equivalent increase in the demand for tattoo removal.

Many people come to regret their choice of tattoo and wish to have it removed. The reasons for which they request its removal may be social, work-related, aesthetic or emotional. Whatever the case, a person will inevitably evolve and change during the course of their life. None of us is entirely similar to the way we were yesterday. Any person may alter their opinion, their aesthetic perceptions and their choices. Many people may wish to permanently remove their tattoo, while others may wish to remove it and replace it with another.

Of course, before getting a tattoo, the patient should be aware that its removal is not an easy affair. As such, one should not think rashly before getting a tattoo. There are two main methods utilized in such a procedure; surgical removal, and removal via laser.


A plastic surgeon can perform the surgical method of removal mainly on small tattoos, but also on larger ones, when the skin is sufficiently elastic. When dealing with larger tattoos, this procedure can be very time-consuming and exhausting.

The plastic surgeon will remove the section of skin where the tattoo is located, making an incision into the skin. Following that he or she will tauten the skin and stitch it together under tension. If the tattoo is not removed in one session due to its size, a second or third repetition, or many more, may be required.

The advantage of this method is that not a trace is left of the tattoo, meaning it is completely removed. The disadvantage is that the old location of the tattoo will be marked by scar tissue, similar to that which usually persists after surgery.

Usually, the procedure is conducted with localized anaesthesia. There is, of course, the option of performing it with a general anaesthesia, depending on the size of the tattoo and the patient’s wishes. A return to activities can be made on the very same day.

A skin distender can be placed alongside large tattoos. The aim of this, following a special procedure, is to create an excess of skin, in order to cover for the deficiency caused by the tattoo’s removal.



There are specific and specialized types of laser which are employed to remove tattoos. These are named Q-switched.

The removal is performed over a number of sessions. Each session sees the laser applied throughout the area covered by the tattoo. An interval of recuperation of approximately two weeks follows each session. After this interval, the tattoo will appear fainter. A month or so after the operation the second session follows, where the same process is repeated. This means that the tattoo undergoes a healing period, following which it will appear fainter. The aim is that the tattoo should eventually vanish completely.

However, this is not always possible. It may be that after a certain point the colour will not be able to fade any further. This depends on the way in which the tattoo was done. This means that tattoos done by professionals tend to respond better to laser therapy, in comparison to those done by amateurs.

In addition, colour is crucial. While black responds quite well, various other colorations do not. Therefore, some colours may be erased and some may remain.


Tattoos that feature several colours pose a particular problem. These usually require several laser session in order to erase or at least improve the appearance of the tattoo. Usually, the number of these sessions ranges from 5 to 10. For some patients, however, these can be fewer or more. The laser is applied at monthly intervals, but if one so wishes the intervals can be wider. The patient is able to return to their daily activities immediately after the therapy, without any problems or restrictions.

A discussion with the plastic surgeon is vital. Only he or she can inform you about the results you can expect. After you are fully informed by the plastic surgeon, you can decide and select which procedure you wish to undergo. Whatever the case, of course, patience and perseverance are often required.