For many people, the permanence of tattoos does not seem like a big deal when the time comes to actually get the tattoo. However, times and tastes change, and what might have seemed like a good idea at the time can prove to be disappointing or embarrassing as the years go by. When it comes to tattoo removal, most people just want to get rid of their ink altogether. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and some people simply want to get rid of an old tattoo to make room for a new design, or make the best of a difficult-to-remove tattoo.
So why does this require removal at all? Is it possible to simply cover up an old tattoo with a new design?
Reasons for Partial Tattoo Removal
There are two major reasons people seek partial tattoo removal. The first simply has to do with the fact that there are some tattoos with several images or components, and while some parts of the tattoo may become unwanted over time, this does not mean that the whole tattoo needs to be removed. This is especially true for tattoos that incorporate writing—sometimes a misspelled word or a name of a past lover can be reasons people undergo only partial tattoo removal.
The second common reason for partial tattoo removal has to do with the complexity of the tattoo to be removed. Sometimes, it is simply not possible to totally remove a large or complex tattoo, and the best option is to fade the tattoo to the point where it can be covered up with a new design. A dark tattoo cannot be covered up in most cases without some laser tattoo removal sessions.
Techniques for Partial Removal
Techniques for partial tattoo removal are exactly the same as those used for complete tattoo removal, the only difference is the area of focus and/or the number of treatments required. These factors are completely individual, and depends on the goals and needs of the patient, which is why a consultation with a tattoo removal expert is the first step in the process. By combining the precision of modern lasers with the skill of a trained professional, partial tattoo removal can be quite successful.
The procedure itself is not comfortable, but most patients tolerate the process well enough without anesthesia, or with a topical numbing agent. Sessions are brief, lasting only ten minutes or less, and involve the use of a laser to target the unwanted pigment and break it down. The body then disposes of the ink over a period of several weeks, which is why laser treatments are spaced a few months apart.
Healing Time Before the New Tattoo
Laser treatments result in sensitive skin, since the laser penetrates to the level of a second degree burn. You should wait until the skin is fully healed after your final treatment to get your new tattoo—a process that can take several weeks. Ask your doctor if you are unsure of when it is safe to get a new tattoo after the removal process is complete.
Factors in Effectiveness
Tattoo removal can yield great results, but patients must also maintain realistic expectations, as it is not possible to remove every tattoo fully or prevent some complications such as minor scarring or changes in skin pigmentation. Factors that can affect the effectiveness of partial tattoo removal include:
- Tattoo colors
- Tattoo size
- Tattoo complexity
- Tattoo ink type
- Tattoo location
- Skin color
- Skin type
- Doctor’s skill
Finding an Expert
Because tattoo removal is a big business these days, and a loosely-regulated one in many states, there are many poorly-trained technicians out to make a quick buck and monopolize on the booming industry. In order to avoid getting poor results or experience complications from the procedure, consumers need to be savvy and do meticulous research before choosing a provider to provide tattoo removal services.
No matter what kind of tattoo you have, you will be making multiple trips for treatment with your provider, so it is essential to find a skilled provider you trust and with whom you have rapport. In order to set yourself up for success, it is best to choose a qualified plastic surgeon to perform your treatments, like Dr. Stuart Bentkover of New England Tattoo Removal.
Dr. Bentkover is a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in tattoo removal, boasting years of experience with laser treatments and offering patients stellar results. Dr. Bentkover can even work with your tattoo artist if you are having a tattoo faded or altered so it can be replaced. For more information and to schedule a consultation, call Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033) MA, today.