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Treatment | Laser | Tattoo removal

Tattoo removal

The word “tattoo” is derived from the Tahitian word “tattow”, which means “to paint on the skin”. The word first appeared in Captain Cook’s Journal for July 1769 and has since then established itself in our vocabulary virtually unchanged.

Just as the word “tattoo” has become established, the act of getting a tattoo has now found its way into the general population. In the last two decades the popularity of tattoos has increased massively, it is estimated that today at least 40% of young adults have a tattoo. With the popularity of tattoos, however, the demand for tattoo removal is increasing simultaneously.

How can tattoos be removed?

There are historical methods for tattoo removal such as removal with salt or specially made pastes. Also the simple excision of a tattoo is one of the methods, which are surprisingly still performed today.

Today’s gold standard for tattoo removal, however, is and remains the removal of tattoos with the specialized, pigment-specific, q-switched, q-switched lasers. Their invention in the 1960s revolutionized tattoo removal. Ultra-short pulses and selective absorption in the desired pigment gave a new dimension to tattoo removal.

A further technological innovation with a remarkable effect on the clinical course has now been achieved with the Enlighten III laser from the Silicon Valley-based company Cutera.

How does the Enlighten III laser work?

The Enlighten III laser by Cutera is one of the newest and most innovative lasers on the market for the removal of tattoos, permanent make-up and benign pigmented lesions.

The technological innovation is based on a new, additional ultra-short pulse duration in the picosecond range, as well as a combination of three wavelengths within the same device for the treatment of virtually all tattoo colors and skin types.

In addition to the ultra-short pulses in the nanosecond range (10-9 seconds) that have long been available on the market, the Enlighten now emits extremely short and highly energetic pulses in the picosecond range (10-12 seconds). One picosecond is a trillionth of a second and 1000 times shorter than the nanosecond lasers previously available on the market. The Enlighten III is the only laser in its class that can emit pulses in the nanosecond and picosecond range. This significantly improves the effectiveness and safety in the removal of tattoos, permanent makeup and benign pigmented lesions and minimizes damage to surrounding tissue.
With the combination of these two pulses, even stubborn tattoos can be removed safely, effectively and quickly. Studies show that picosecond lasers can remove tattoos more effectively and in fewer treatments than traditional tattoo lasers.

As a further innovation, the Enligten III is the only laser that combines three different wavelengths in the same device, which allows the treatment of virtually all tattoo colors on all skin types. Even the previously stubborn red and green color can now be removed satisfactorily and safely.

Available wavelengths and their range of application are

1064 nm

  • dark tattoos (blue, black)
  • benign pigmented lesions
  • all skin types (Fitzpatrick I-VI)

670 nm

  • light tattoos including green and blue colors
  • benign pigmented lesions
  • light skin types (Fitzpatrick I-III)

532 nm

  • light tattoos including red and yellow colors
  • benign pigmented lesions
  • lighter skin types (Fitzpatrick I-IV)

With the help of 660 or 750 picosecond or 2 nanosecond pulses, tattoo or pigment particles are broken up photo-acoustically, shattered and removed by our lymphatic system. Thus, after each treatment, the tattoo successively lightens.

Even permanent make-up can be removed with the Enlighten III.

In addition to tattoos and permanent make-up, the following benign pigmented lesions can be removed safely and effectively:

  • Age spots (Lentigines solares)
  • Freckles
  • Seborrhoeic keratoses
  • Café-au-lait spots
  • Melasma

The laser allows us to individually select energy, pulse duration, wavelength and spot size according to your clinical needs and to determine the ideal treatment plan for you.

Is treatment with the Enlighten III right for me?

If you want to get rid of a tattoo, no matter what color or size, the treatment with the Enlighten III laser is the treatment for you that meets today’s highest technical standards.

What can I expect after tattoo removal with the Enlighten III?

In the vast majority of cases, you can expect a complete removal of your tattoo. Unfortunately, there are always special tattoo colors and techniques that do not allow even the most innovative laser to remove the tattoo completely.

The complete removal of a tattoo requires several treatment sessions, usually 2 months apart.

The number of treatments for the complete removal of the tattoo depends on the color composition, pigment depth and size of the tattoo and varies individually. An exact number cannot be predicted. However, the Enlighten III laser can remove tattoos in half the number of treatments than conventional lasers do. The intervals between treatments depend on the status of the therapy and can be between 4 weeks and 3 months.

What happens during the consult?

In a detailed first consultation we will analyse your tattoo, the colour composition, pigment depth and your skin type. Based on all these parameters and your needs, we will create an individual treatment plan together.

As a second step before the treatment, we will inquire your medical history to make sure that there are no contraindications for treatment with the Enlighten III.

How is the treatment performed?

The actual treatment is carried out in our specially designed treatment room for the Enlighten III and takes a maximum of 30 minutes, depending on the tattoo size. To make the treatment as painless as possible for you, the skin can be pretreated with an anaesthetic cream 20 minutes beforehand or, if desired, a local anaesthetic can be applied. Additional cooling before, during and after the treatment also helps to decrease discomfort.

The treatment is then performed out with the individual settings determined for you in advance. You will wear special glasses to protect your eyes.

After the treatment we will cool the treated area once again. This reduces the pain and prevents undesirable side effects. Finally, we will apply a wound cream and possibly a bandage.

Before each treatment we take a digital photograph to objectify and document the progress.

What does the recovery after treatment look like?

As long as the treated area shows crusts or redness, you should apply wound cream or bandages daily. Redness, swelling and crust formation are frequent and heal spontaneously. We ask you to avoid sun exposure and apply broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA/UVB) with SPF 50.

Otherwise there is nothing special to observe. You can immediately return to your everyday life.

What are the risks?

The risks of laser tattoo removal are usually minimal. Very rarely undesired side effects can occur, which usually subside spontaneously. During the treatment you will feel slight discomfort or pain and possibly a burning sensation. Redness, swelling and crust formation are frequent and heal spontaneously.

A rare occurance of:

  • Local haemorrhages, spot bleeding (purpura)
  • Blistering
  • Hyperpigmentation/Hypopigmentation
  • Allergic reaction
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Incomplete removal of the tattoo
  • Paradoxical darkening or colour change

Would you like to know more?

If you are interested in a treatment with the Enlighten III, we are happy to assist you as objective advisors.

Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Arrange an appointment online here.

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