How It Works
Laser tattoo removal is one of the safest and most effective methods of tattoo removal. While it may seem easier than getting the tattoo, it is a complicated process that is considered a medical procedure and should be performed by medical professionals like the team at VanishMD.
During laser tattoo removal, short and intense bursts of light are used to break up the ink particles suspended in the dermis, the second layer of the skin. The smallest particles are naturally removed by your body’s immune system and processed out.
With new advances in technology, such as the use of picosecond science delivering unbelievably short, powerful bursts of laser energy to the tattoo ink, the removal process is expedited. Since tattoo removal lasers do not penetrate through all the layers of the skin, there is rarely any scarring and healing is faster than with invasive methods, such as excision.
The number of sessions needed to fully remove a tattoo depends on a several factors, including the size, age and colors used on the tattoo, where it is located on your body, and whether it was done by a professional or an amateur.
Read about the 10 key points to getting Laser Tattoo Removal
Tattoo Removal Consultation
Many of our clients don’t think they need a tattoo removal consult. They want to come in and start treatment immediately. In many cases, your first laser session can take place immediately after the tattoo removal consultation, but we cannot proceed without it.
The tattoo removal consultation allows us to gather important information about you and your tattoo so that we can give you the best care possible. Every person is unique, so we need to know as much as we can to tailor your treatment to meet your specific needs.
Before the tattoo removal consultation, you will need to fill out paperwork. To save time at your appointment, you can download the forms here and fill them out before you arrive.
Your consultant will gather information about your medical history, any medications or supplements you may take, allergies, unusual skin reactions, and other important information. We will also need information about your tattoo, including how long ago it was done, whether it was done by a professional or not, and if there were any local problems in the area after you got your ink. After all the background information is gathered, we will look at your tattoo, photograph it, and measure it.
Following the evaluation, your consultant should be able to give you an idea of how many sessions you will need and how much the removal process will cost. We will supply you with a copy of our pre- and post-care instructions.
Most of VanishMD’s tattoo removal specialists have tattoos of their own, and most of them have undergone the removal process on at least one of their pieces. Their firsthand experiences will help you understand the process and make it easier for them to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to ask whatever questions you want about their experiences, the procedure, or anything else about tattoo removal.
Laser Tattoo Removal
At VanishMD, we pride ourselves on providing the best tattoo removal service by using the best equipment available. Over the years, tattoo removal laser platforms increased in performance and versatility, but only now is there a machine that can effectively remove all colors of ink on any skin type: the Cutera Enlighten.
The Enlighten is the most advanced laser on the market, specifically built to deal with the intricacies both 1064 and 532 nanometer wavelengths. The laser pulses can fire as fast as the standard nanosecond (one billionth of a second), or be fired at the trillionth-of-a-second pico-second duration, giving more control and better clearance of any tattoo. With multiple spot sizes and adjustable fluence (power), this system can be adjusted to target your ink’s unique attributes for the most efficient removal, including color, depth of the ink, and the type of ink used.
Tattoos come in a wide range of colors and particle sizes, and can be at varying depths of the skin depending on how it was applied. The Enlighten’s all-in-one technology gives us the capability to remove any tattoo, regardless of the ink or the application. Beyond black, this machine can clear more difficult colors that were previously impossible to treat. Reds, yellows, oranges, browns, and blues all fade away using this platform. This system has the broadest range of spot sizes (the diameter of the laser beam, varying diameters vary the depth of the treatment) of any laser available. In a clinical trial, it ranked #1 in patient comfort and satisfaction.
We use the world’s first and only laser platform to feature dual wavelengths and two pulse durations. We are able to remove tattoos of any kind no matter what type of skin you have. Picosecond pulse technology allows us to remove your tattoo with as few as half of the treatment sessions than most other tattoo removal providers can. Combining this superior technology with the medical expertise found in our office makes VanishMD a professional, ethical, comfortable and fast tattoo removal solution for you.
Fast & Effective
The Enlighten laser provides the fastest and most effective tattoo removal for all ink colors on all skin types, regardless of skin pigment or tattoo placement. The adjustable settings of the machine are easily adjusted to tailor the tattoo removal experience to your needs. Picosecond laser pulses allow for a high amount of energy to be delivered in a shorter amount of time than with traditional machines. The treatment session and the clearance process are both made faster with this technology. Most sessions can be completed in less than 30 minutes, and the largest tattoos will take no more than an hour for treatment. Combined with the pain management medication available to you during and after your treatment, VanishMD offers the most comfortable tattoo removal experience in New York.
Anesthesia for Tattoo Removal
While modern technology allows for a less painful experience, tattoo removal is an uncomfortable procedure. For this reason, many people choose to have their procedures in a medical office, giving them access to immediate care and pain relief options. While it is not necessary for treatment, a medical office can offer anesthetic therapies that cannot be enjoyed outside of a medical setting.
VanishMD is proud to offer a range of anesthetic therapies to make your tattoo removal experience more comfortable. By using this option, you may enjoy a painless treatment session.
Our most popular anesthetic option is a lidocaine injection. There is minimal discomfort from this kind of injection, but it will provide a complete numbing of the area. Lidocaine injections are fast acting, going into effect in 90 seconds. The numbing sensation will last for about 60 minutes, which covers the amount of time most tattoo removal treatment sessions will take.
All anesthetic choices are reviewed, administered, and managed by our on-site medical director.
The Laser Tattoo Removal Procedure
While the technology and biological processes that make laser tattoo removal therapy possible are complex, the procedure itself is relatively simple for you as the patient. Here is a breakdown of what you will experience during your procedure:
- Medical photographs will be taken just before the treatment begins.
- Your certified laser technician and our medical director will review and set the laser parameters for the most effective treatment for you.
- If you have chosen an anesthesia therapy to help minimize discomfort during the treatment, it will be administered at this time.
- The treatment area will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution.
- You will be provided with a special pair of yellow goggles to wear during the procedure. The lasers used in your treatment are very powerful and can damage your eyes if they are not properly protected. For this reason, we suggest that you do not use any cameras while the laser is in use, as the intense light can also damage your camera. However, you are more than welcome to listen to music during your procedure.
- When the procedure starts, you will hear a beeping sound to indicate that the laser is firing.
- The length of time your procedure will take depends on the size of your tattoo. Small tattoos may take as little as 10 minutes, while medium ones may take 15-20.
- You may notice that your tattoo is turning white during your procedure. This is a process called “frosting,” and it is a good sign that the treatment is going well.
- Once your procedure is done, the treated area will be dressed with special dressing imbued with antibiotics and a sterile petroleum ointment to aid in healing and avoid complications. Your technician will give you instructions for proper aftercare and can then schedule your next treatment.
After Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment
While the laser therapy can only be administered by one of our licensed laser technicians, the tattoo removal process requires that you work as a partner with us. With proper care, you will enjoy the best possible results.
Immediately after your procedure we will place sterile, antiseptic dressings on the treated area. This dressing should stay in place for the first 24 hours. While healing you may experience some pinpoint bleeding, redness, blisters and swelling. These are typical of laser treatment. You will need to change the dressing yourself several times over the next few days, to aid in healing and avoid infection.
Sun exposure should be avoided, as the skin is made especially sensitive by the laser treatment. Be sure to use full-spectrum sun block on the area when you go out or keep covered with light clothing.
Our staff will go over post-care instructions with you at the end of your visit. You will be supplied with a written copy of the post care instructions. We offer a complete list of the instructions in our Patient Resources section.
The R20 Method
The “R” stands for Repeating or Rapid while the “20 “stands for 20 minutes. The R20 Method will do a single pass of the laser every 20 minutes. This is essentially 2 (or more) removal treatments during one visit. A 20 minute wait period is required because each pass of the laser produces very small nitrogen bubbles that look like frost on top of the tattoo. The laser cannot penetrate through this frost until it dissipates in approximately 20 minutes, then another session can then be conducted.
Although this technique has frequently been used there are several draw backs. The patient is tied up generally for several hours. The staff will generally start running late which delays your treatment. Additionally by not leaving significant time between sessions you are not sure of the effectiveness of the previous pass. Waiting 20 minutes between passes will allow the frosting to dissipate, but swelling will increase, possibly decreasing the effectiveness of the laser on following passes. The body will not have had time to eliminate the fragmented ink particles, meaning the light from the laser will still encounter those before the ink deeper in the skin, further reducing the effectiveness of the laser. Another down side is when the laser does encounter and react with the already fragmented ink; it may cause further damage to the surrounding tissue.
Recently a new FDA product has been released to allow multiple passes without waiting between passes and eliminating most of the downsides of the R20. Known as the DeScribe patch it is only available at medical offices. Read below.
The DeScribe Patch
The DeScribe patch is a transparent plastic patch infused with the chemical perfluorodecalin (PFD). PFD is an inert, non-toxic, transparent liquid that has been used in a variety of medical applications for years. Because of its unique affinity for gases, as well as its powerful index matching and optical clearing properties, PFD speeds clearance of the opaque white layer of nitrogen bubbles (frosting) formed after a conventional single laser pass. By absorbing gas, reducing optical scattering and enabling index matching, the DeScribe Patch allows for immediate retreatment. With the ability to safely perform multiple treatments at each session, the tattoo removal process speeds up. The patch has also been found to improve healing after laser treatment and improve the overall outcome of the removal process.
The DeScribe patch was recently approved by the FDA. It is only available to licensed medical professionals. VanishMD offers DeScribe patch treatment to clients in Long Island and New York. Our clients have been excited about reducing the number of visits to our office for treatment and enjoy faster healing. This treatment method has been useful for those with an urgency to remove their ink, i.e., start of employment, induction to the military or law enforcement agency, social event etc.