Tattoos Can Be Removed in Fewer but Longer Laser Sessions

Murad Alam, MD, MSCI


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In This Article


With the R20 technique, many simple tattoos can be mostly removed in a single session. This is an exciting advance that may have an immediate effect on the standard of care. Though this study was performed with a Q-switched alexandrite laser, the results would almost certainly be similar with other Q-switched lasers. The mechanism of action is not known, but the authors hypothesize that immediate tattoo whitening after laser treatment is due to gas bubble formation that creates an optical blockage preventing the further penetration of light deep into the dermis, where the pigment particles are located; these gas bubbles appear to dissipate after a few minutes, allowing further, effective laser treatment to resume with subsequent passes. Unanswered practical questions remain: how to find staff and space for tattoo patients who will be receiving treatment for hours at a time, and how to price this service.