Tattoo removal is done with the Q-switched laser. This laser can generate light pulses with very high peak powers and extremely short pulses (nanoseconds and more recently even picoseconds).
The ink of the tattoo is an exogenous pigment that will absorb the laser light. The energy of the laser light destroys the tattoo pigment by fragmenting it into smaller particles. When, after several sessions, the ink particles are small enough, they will be cleared by the skins immune system.
Depending on the number of colours and type of ink used, the quality of the tattoo (professional or amateur) and the location of the tattoo, it takes between 4 up to more than 10 sessions to remove a tattoo with laser. The interval between the sessions is approx. 4 to 6 weeks. Often patients stop treatments before achieving optimal results. Every laser session destroys some ink particles and fades the tattoo; it is impossible to destroy all the ink layers in one session. Removing a tattoo with a laser is a process that takes time. In some cases a complete resolution of the tattoo is not achieved.
Dark colours (black and dark blue) give best results whereas multicoloured tattoos are more challenging and require different wavelengths, appropriate for the pigment being targeted. Our Q-switched laser platform has several handpieces for treatment of different colours.
We often combine the Q-switched laser with the fractional ablative CO2 laser in the same session to have faster improvement and better results.
Laser tattoo removal is a painful procedure, a numbing cream can be applied 30-45 min prior to the treatment and cold air will be used during the treatment for maximum comfort.
The treatment will either be performed by Dr. Dierckxsens or by one of her experienced staff. Initial laser settings are verified by Dr. Dierckxsens prior to each treatment.