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Brisbane Tattoo Removals
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Check out Westside Dermatology for our your skin and dermatological needs!!

A case of Lichen Planus after laser tattoo removal

If performed incorrectly, side effects of laser tattoo removal can occur. Identifying them early, and treating them in an appropriate manner is the key to minimising any serious complications. The following anecdote highlights the potential complications of laser tattoo removal performed outside a specialist centre.

A 32 year old female patient was referred to us via her general practitioner, regarding a tattoo reaction post laser tattoo removal. Three weeks prior to the reaction, she visited a reputable laser centre in new farm for removal of her tattoo. The initial treatment seemed to go as planned, however one week after the laser treatment, she had developed raised areas within the tattoo. These ‘raised areas’ were identified as scarring, however the laser clinic did not refer the client to a specialist.

On examination at Westside Dermatology, the areas that were lasered appeared as itchy purplish scars. On examination of her laser treated area, it was revealed that she had a common skin infection called Lichen Planus. Thankfully, the scars settled within a week after topical corticosteroid was commenced.

Tattoo removal is dependent on many factors

The Revlite tattoo removal laser used at Westisde Dermatology is the most advanced laser for tattoo removal, however, depending on the individual characteristics of the tattoo, the number of treatments needed to remove a tattoo will vary from patient to patient. The factors to be taken into account are:

• Patients skin colour – Darker skin types will require more treatments as opposed to fairer skin types. This is due to paler skin giving the laser a better target to hit and therefore resulting in fewer treatments.
• Location of the tattoo – Tats on the extremities will generally require more tattoo removal sessions than tattoos located on the neck and face
• Colour of Ink – black ink will be the first to respond to treatments, followed by coloured ink, which have been proven to be more difficult to remove
• Age of Ink – More recent tattoos fade better and quicker as opposed to older tattoos. As a tattoo ages, they tend to ‘sink in’ and move deeper into the skin.

In order to take all these factors into account, correct and thorough assessment prior to the actual laser tattoo removal is crucial. Experience coupled with the right equipment will result in the best and most positive outcomes.

Tattoo removal methods

Many different tattoo removal methods have been tried and tested of the years such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, surgical excision and creams, however the Revlite laser has proven to be advantageous. Unlike the other inferior methods, laser removal is a safe and effective method without leaving a scar. The laser may vary depending on the individual characteristics of the tattoo. For instance, red and black colours have found to be easier to treat, resulting in fewer sessions, as opposed to blue, green and orange ink, which generally require more treatments. Similarly, tattoos done professionally require more treatments to remove, as opposed to tattoos performed by an amateur.

When performed correctly, in the hands of a specialist, laser tattoo removal is relatively painless and is less expensive as one might expect. The laser tattoo removal process commences with an initial consultation, during which the tattoo will be examined and a time line of the treatment plan will be executed.

Pale skin gives the laser a better target to hit, therefore laser tattoo removal works best on fair skin. Keeping as pale as practically possible before the laser tattoo treatment is essential, therefore Sun protection should be planned well before the tattoo removal sessions, to ensure the best possible result. It has been said that the procedure itself is much less painful than getting inked in the first place, the sensation being likened to a rubber band snap on the skin. One laser tattoo removal is complete, as expected; the treated area will be swollen and red. However, our specialists will provide you with a barrier cream to aid the healing process.

Generally, the average tattoo will require between 6–12 treatments spaced 6–10 weeks apart. However, depending on the individual characteristics of the tattoo, the treatments will vary. Although each treatment will fade the tattoo, black ink will be the first to respond, followed by coloured inks.

Laser Tattoo removal and your Tattooist - a great working relationship

Westside Dermatology is the only Specialist centre that provides laser tattoo removal, as well as works in close conjunction with your tattoo artist, enabling the creation of a fresh canvas for a new tattoo! Complete tattoo removal occurs especially in the case of base colours such as black or reds. Colours such as blue, aqua, yellow and green, on the other hand, may need up to twelve treatments for removal.

However, for clients seeking a new tattoo or a cover up, it is only necessary to fade the tattoo just enough to enable the tattooist to tattoo over it. Therefore, clients wishing to replace an old tattoo with a fresh one will generally need fewer treatments in total.

Our specialist team at Westside Dermatology has a unique working relationship with the tattooist, in order to fade the unwanted areas and enable the patient to replace an old tattoo with a new one, by providing them a fresh canvas to work on!

Laser Removal of Traumatic Tattoos; Secondary to Explosive Injury:

Explosions such as bombs in the military setting, airbag injuries or road accidents can result in traumatic tattoos. A traumatic tattoo occurs when a particle of carbon becomes deeply imbedded in the layers of the skin. Similar to removal of ink tattoos, the same procedure applies for removal of traumatic tattoos.

Through multiple treatments, the results have proven to be extremely positive, removing carbon particles within the skin. Additionally, a punch excision, which is a surgical method of removing larger fragments, may be recommended by your specialist if any larger fragments are noted. Dr Lim has recently been highly involved in treating explosive injuries seen in our troops in Iraq, and therefore has the expert knowledge needed for removal of traumatic tattoos.

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Check out this video of our new Q Switched Revlite Laser
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