It used to be that only bikers and gang members sported tattoos but not anymore. Tattoos are incredibly popular, especially among teenagers, and getting rid of a tattoo may be as popular as getting one and can be a lot more painful.  There are several methods available for tattoo removal. Successful removal depends on a variety of factors; such as type of ink, depth of ink, intensity of color, and the age of the tattoo. Some of the methods currently used to remove tattoos are:

This method uses a rapidly rotating, diamond tipped, skin sanding instrument to remove the tattoo pigment under the skin. This method will always result in a scar.

Surgical Excision: 
This method involves cutting the tattooed portion of the flesh away, and in some cases, requires a skin graft from another part of the body. This method will always result in a scar.

Laser Techniques: 
There are several types of laser techniques available. The type of laser used depends on the size and location of the tattoo, the type and/or color of the tattoo pigment. Some laser type descriptions:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser:
Uses infrared light beam to vaporize the skin and remove tattoo pigment. The resulting wound and scarring are similar to the dermabrasion technique.

Q-Switched (Rapid Pulsed) Nd-YAT Laser:
Explodes or fragments pigment particles under the skin for the body’s immune system to remove. This method is said to be superior in the removal of red ink. Results vary, with some sources indicating that the treatment produces virtually no scar; and others indicating that it may generate a textural change in the skin, and has been known to cause tissue splattering and bleeding. This treatment requires multiple treatment sessions and treatment is more costly.

Q-Switched Ruby Laser:
This method removes green and black inks very well. As above, some sources indicate little or no scar; while others indicate potential for breaking of the skin, frank bleeding or tissue splatter.

As one of our clients found out, tatoo removal should definitely be left to the professionals. Rhonda Smith got a tattoo when was 17 years old. Now she’s 34 and the mother of an eight month old who decided it was time to have the tattoo removed. Now, all she has to show is a nasty scar that used to be a tattoo.

“It’s disgusting,” said Smith. “It’s horrible” Smith had her tattoo removed using a series of laser treatments that promised no pain and no scarring.”Unless I can find the plastic surgeon willing to do the skin graft for cosmetic reasons, I will have this the rest of my life,” said Smith. Smith says the tattoo scar is painful and she cannot expose it to the sun.

Smith went to the Pennsylvania Institute of Electrology & Laser Clinic to have her tattoo removed. She says in a lawsuit she’s filed that the staff wasn’t trained. Smith’s lawyer Jon Perry states, “It’s just unfathomable that individuals can use lasers without medical training.” Her lawyer says she walked right into a business that’s unregulated.

They used machines that real doctors are supposed to use but the business has no doctors — not even a nurse on staff. “They used the wrong laser,” said Perry. “(It) had too intense of a light beam. It severely burned her skin and now she’s left with a keloid scar which is far worse than the tattoo she wanted to have removed.”

If you must have a tattoo removed, you should have it done by a doctor or plastic surgeon. If you are an injured party pursuing a case, the personal injury law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry can help. Contact Rosen Louik & Perry for more information and/or a free consultation.