Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is laser removal surgery safe?"
I want to take a tattoo off of my foot that I don't want anymore. Doctor said the only thing to do is laser removal but that it is elective surgery. Is it safe? Could something go wrong that would give me a bad scar or something?
In the past, tattoo removal required surgery, but now one common method is laser removal. Due to newer and more advanced technology, treatment of tattoos with laser has become more effective with minimal side effects and very low risk of scarring. Laser works effectively in removing tattoos by specifically targeting tattoo pigment without targeting normal skin. When the tattoo pigment is treated with a high-intensity laser light beam, it breaks up the pigment colors into smaller fragments that result in a fading of the tattoo over a course of several treatments. Treatment with the laser varies from person to person depending on the type of tattoo, the color of the ink, the size and depth of the tattoo, and the body's reaction to the treatment; so therefore, successful removal technique must be tailored to suit each individual case. (Black tattoos are the easiest to remove). The most common problem associated with laser tattoo removal is a residual change in the skin pigment. For instance, the skin in the treated area may end up lighter or darker than the normal skin. This most commonly occurs in people who have dark skin tones. Removal of the entire tattoo is not always guaranteed. Please make sure you find a reputable dermatologist who specializes in laser tattoo removal in your area to ensure proper treatment and care. Your doctor can advise you on the process and give you a good idea of how much (if not all) of it can be removed. Some tattoo shops also offer tattoo removal, but you should be careful and make sure to have your tattoo removed by a medical doctor.
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