Living with a tattoo you don’t want? The Laser Institute of Wisconsin™, created by Fox Valley Plastic Surgery, offers men and women from Wisconsin cities such as Green Bay, Sheboygan, and Neenah safe, effective, and permanent laser tattoo removal using advanced medical technology. Laser therapy has been proven to be safe and effective, and is approved by the FDA for the treatment of a variety of tattoos.
The Laser Institute of Wisconsin has extensive experience in laser tattoo removal. To learn about your options, request your free laser consultation or contact us at (920) 233-1540. Our skilled laser technicians are helping women and men from places such as Appleton, Fond du Lac, and Oshkosh perfect their personal Renaissance.
Tattoos are meant to be permanent, so removing them is difficult. No laser technician can predict the exact degree of removal because the technician does not know which tattoo inks were used. A tattoo applied by a more experienced artist, may be easier to remove since the pigment was evenly injected in the same level of the skin. New tattoos may be more difficult to remove than old ones. The degree of remaining color depends upon several factors, including size, location, the individual’s ability to heal, age of tattoo, and how the tattoo was applied.
Lasers work by producing short pulses of intense light that pass harmlessly through the top layers of the skin, to be selectively absorbed by the tattoo pigment. This laser energy causes the tattoo pigment to fragment into smaller particles which are then easily removed by the body’s immune system. Laser treatments do not “remove” the ink from the body, but rather mobilize it to the nearby lymph nodes.
There may be immediate fading with the first treatment. Generally, tattoo removal takes place in a series of treatments. The number of treatments depends on the color and density of the ink, the age of the tattoo, along with the location on the body. The laser selectively targets the pigment of the tattoo without damaging the surrounding skin.
The Laser Institute of Wisconsin uses a MedLite C6 Laser, a Q-Switched Nd: YAG laser, to remove or lighten almost any tattoo ink color. This high energy, laser-pulsed technology allows tattoos to be removed with minimal risk of scarring and less discomfort than other laser treatments.
Some colors are more difficult to treat, and may require more sessions. The Medlite C6 laser machine has four laser wavelengths it can use to treat different colored ink. These lights are designed to remove black, red, blue and green inks. There are tattoo artists who mix colors to create an “in between” color, such as red and yellow to make orange, or blue and yellow to make green ink. The laser light teases out the different colors on a molecular level.
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The goal and purpose of the procedure is to attempt removal of the tattoo, or to make the pattern or lesion as unrecognizable as possible by lightening the pigment. During laser tattoo removal, a qualified laser technician will selectively treat the pigment colors with a high-intensity laser beam. Because of the variety of wavelength and energy settings available, the skill and training of the laser technician are almost more important than the actual laser being used. Beware of getting laser tattoo removal treatment from non-medical places in which the laser operators may have very limited understanding of how lasers work.
The unfortunate thing about tattoos is that both getting them and having them taken off can be uncomfortable. The impact of the energy from the laser’s powerful pulse of light has been described as being snapped by a rubber band. The office offers skin numbing cream to reduce the pain associated with the laser. Fortunately, the laser treatment is very fast, usually lasting only a few minutes depending on the size.
The ideal clinical endpoint for a tattoo treatment is an immediate slight whitening or “frosting” of the skin. However, that will subside immediately after the treatment is complete. Other observable effects include mild swelling and redness.
Dr. David Janssen and Dr. William Doubek combine experience, refined surgical techniques, and artistry to produce beautiful results for their plastic and reconstructive surgery patients.
Generally, there is no downtime after a treatment. Often, a protective bandage is placed over the laser-treated area. Patients can continue with their normal activities. The treated tattoo takes 7 to 10 days to heal like a tattoo. The inked area will be slightly raised, and the area around the tattoo will be a little red and warm. With higher energies, there can be some local swelling, small fluid filled blisters and small amounts of bleeding or scabbing. Any small “burn” blisters will heal and resolve exactly as burn blisters heal. The underlying skin will heal and return to normal. There is very little risk of scarring.
Following treatment, patients should keep the area as clean as possible. A shower or bath the day after treatment is permissible as long as the treatment area is not scrubbed. The skin might feel slightly sunburned for a few days. The treated area may remain red for a couple of weeks. The site might also form a scab, which should be handled gently.
Over the next days the area will settle down and return to its original appearance. While it typically takes 4-8 weeks for the body to absorb the ink particles, every patient and tattoo responds differently. The number of sessions depends on the amount and type of ink used and how deeply it was injected. Although visible pigment is removed from the first treatment, additional treatments are required for a satisfactory outcome. Typically, there is 80% lightening after 6-8 treatments. The number can vary widely depending on the tattoo characteristics. 90% lightening is common. 100% complete elimination is not the rule, but can occur.
Whenever the patient and the tattoo artist believe the old tattoo is faded enough, the tattoo artist can apply the new tattoo. Usually, this takes an average of three or four treatments spaced about two months apart. Also, the tattoo artist may want certain areas treated more completely depending on the details of the next piece. The Laser Institute of Wisconsin™ is always pleased to work closely with the tattoo artist to create the best treatment plan to suit each patient’s specific situation.
Read about Stacy’s experience with the Medispa and other real patient stories in the Real Patient Stories section of our website. Even with her busy career and active lifestyle, Stacy still finds time to take care of her skin at the Renaissance Medispa. By making her skin treatments a priority in her life, Stacy defies aging. Heads turn when Stacy walks in the room.
Risks of the laser procedure include but are not limited to pain, bleeding, infection, scarring, allergic or drug reactions, blistering, crusting/scab formation, and unforeseen complications which can last up to many months, years or permanently. The risk of scarring (in particular raised scars) despite proper laser treatments exists in all cases, but can be reduced by carefully following the post care instructions, and by notifying the office if any problems develop. There is also a risk of persistence of the original pattern (“ghosts”), change in skin texture, permanent lightening or darkening of the treated skin, hair loss, or thinning or easy bruising of the skin following laser treatment. In some cases, laser treatment fails to remove all pigment, especially from professionally applied tattoos or deep amateur tattoos. It may have minimal to no effect on certain pigments such as yellows, greens, blues, teals and purples. If the tattoo is comprised of any white ink, the use of the laser may darken the tattoo.View All Videos
It is difficult to quote the price of tattoo removal without a real tattoo to base the estimate. Some tattoos have lots of space with no ink. A 3”x3” tattoo can cost $200 to $400 dollars for each treatment. There is a base minimum of $100 per treatment.
The price of tattoo removal depends on the amount of time it takes to treat. More colors require more than one treatment for the different colors. It can take as many as 10 up to 15 treatments to return to original skin color. Three or four treatments are usually adequate to lighten the tattoo enough for a new cover up piece.
The payment for each laser tattoo removal is due when the service is rendered. Some practices charge one fee for the entire tattoo removal. The Laser Institute of Wisconsin charges by the visit, because it feels that it is much easier for the patient to pay $200 each time than to pay $1000 all at once. More importantly, this pricing scheme encourages the patients to spread out the appointments to allow the tattoos to fade properly.
During a complimentary laser tattoo removal consultation, the Laser Institute of Wisconsin will evaluate the tattoo and recommend a realistic treatment plan to achieve the best results. Patients who live far away, or do not have time available for a consultation, can send a photo of the tattoo. Based on the photos, the practice will give an honest assessment of the tattoo including whether or not it can be treated, a cost estimate, and an approximation of the number of treatments needed.
Alternative methods of treatment exist including camouflage with makeup, abrasive treatments, acid treatments, treatments with different lasers, and surgical excision with or without tissue expansion or skin grafting. Fox Valley Plastic Surgery offers surgical excision of tattoos for patients who prefer to not undergo the process of multiple laser treatments or who need immediate removal of tattoos. Surgical excision of tattoos always produces scars, which gradually fade.
Find more about laser tattoo removal by calling the Laser Institute of Wisconsin™ at (920) 233-1540. You can also request your free laser skin evaluation online today. We see patients for tattoo removal from Green Bay, Neenah, Menasha, and Appleton, WI and other Fox Valley communities.