Tattoo regret is inevitable for a certain number of people. Permanent ink may seem like a good idea in the moment, year, or even decade, but people change, and what was important at the time of the tattoo may not be important at all later in life, and may even prove embarrassing or upsetting.
In the past, tattoo removal was a very painful, difficult, and often ineffective process, using a variety of unsafe methods. Today, laser removal is the accepted, non-invasive method for fading and removing tattoo ink. Despite these great advances in tattoo removal technology, the process is still not an easy one. One question many patients have when starting tattoo removal treatment is the number of treatments that will be required to get their tattoo to fade to a satisfactory degree.
While each treatment takes only 10 minutes or so to complete, multiple visits can be inconvenient and more expensive. Every effort is made to minimize the number of treatments that will be needed, but it is important to understand the possibilities and realities of tattoo removal. Each tattoo is different, but here are some general variables to keep in mind when planning your treatment.
Variable Numbers of Treatments
Not all tattoos are created equal, but the removal process is always the same. Because of this, more elaborate tattoos require many more laser sessions than simple designs. Generally, the minimum number of treatments that are required is two. More complicated tattoos can require up to 15 treatments for significant improvement.
There are a number of variables that contribute to the ease of the treatment process. The number of treatments required depends largely on the following factors:
- Size of tattoo
- Ink colors
- Ink type
- Complexity of design
- Ink density
Treatments must be spaced several weeks apart to allow the body to start breaking down the pigment that has been broken up by the laser. The waiting period also allows the area to heal and dry, giving the treatment provider a chance to see how the treatment is progressing. Treatments are usually spaced eight weeks apart for optimal results. Because of this, the removal process may take many months or years to complete.
There is a method for speeding up the tattoo removal process, using a technique known as R20. Using the R20 technique, tattoos can be treated up to three or four times in a single day, spaced about 20 minutes apart. This method is not possible for every tattoo, but it can lessen the number of treatments necessary for good results. These treatments are more expensive than traditional laser removal techniques, however.
Full Removal May Not Be Possible
While it is usually possible to produce improvement in most tattoos, some inks and colors are more persistent than others. In addition, deeper tattoos are harder to remove, and traces of these tattoos may remain. It is not always easy to predict how effective the treatments will be beforehand, and it takes time for results to become apparent.
Consult With an Expert
There are many laser tattoo removal clinics in business today, but staff at these clinics may not be trained adequately to provide effective, safe results. You should seek tattoo removal treatments from a laser specialist, such as a plastic surgeon who has ample experience in the art of tattoo removal. If you are looking for expert care in the Boston area, then come to New England Tattoo Removal, at Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester(508-363-6500) and Stoneham(617-247-0033), MA. Board certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Stuart Bentkover is an expert in laser treatments, and provides patients with consistently excellent results. Call either location today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentkover.