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Laser Tattoo Removal

While tattoos are meant to be permanent, you don’t need to live with one that no longer suits you. Advanced medical laser technology makes it easier than ever to get rid of unwanted tattoos of practically any size and color. A licensed technician performs laser tattoo removal at Dr. Ching’s practice in Honolulu, Hawaii, using the advanced PicoSure® laser.

To renew your confidence with laser tattoo removal, request a consultation using our online form or call our office at (808) 585-8855 to schedule an appointment.

Before & After GalleryRequest a Consultation

Before & After Photos

Before

After

Photos courtesy of Cynosure®

Laser Tattoo Removal Overview Video

How does laser tattoo removal work?

Laser tattoo removal works in much the same way as laser hair removal . The PicoSure laser emits short, high-intensity pulses of light at specific wavelengths that are absorbed by the pigment of the tattoo ink. The concentrated pigment in the ink absorbs the laser energy much more than the surrounding tissue, which causes the ink to heat up, break down, and eventually be absorbed by the body. The outer skin and surrounding tissue are unharmed.

What is special about the PicoSure laser?

Specific wavelengths of laser energy are absorbed more by different colors of tattoo ink. For example, a wavelength of 532 nanometers produces green light, which is effective for removing red, orange, and yellow ink. The PicoSure laser is superior to many medical lasers because it can produce all of the wavelengths of light necessary to remove the entire spectrum of tattoo ink colors.
The PicoSure laser enhances tattoo removal even further through its patented PressureWave™ Technology. By using ultra-short pulses (100 times quicker than nanosecond lasers), the PicoSure laser breaks down tattoo ink into even smaller particles than many other lasers (see illustration below). These tiny particles are more readily eliminated by the body, which means the PicoSure laser can usually remove tattoos with fewer treatments than nanosecond lasers.

Tattoo Before Cynosure

Traditional Laser
Tattoo 1 month after cynosure

PicoSure Laser

Which colors are easiest to treat?

Black, red, dark orange, and dark blue inks are usually easier to remove than green, purple, brown, light orange, and light blue. More sessions may be required for certain colors.

How is laser tattoo removal performed?

The skin may be numbed with a topical numbing cream, applied about an hour in advance. Once the skin is numb, the laser handpiece is used to slowly trace over the tattoo as quick pulses of laser energy are released. The treatment time varies with the size of the tattoo, colors, and type of pigment used, but typically ranges from 15 minutes to an hour.

What does laser tattoo removal feel like?

Patients usually say the pulse of the laser feels like a rubber band snap, ranging from mild to intense. Discomfort depends on the location of the tattoo and individual pain tolerance.

How much does laser tattoo removal cost?

Prices for laser tattoo removal are determined during the initial consultation and are based upon several factors, which include:

  • Treatment area
  • Tattoo size
  • Tattoo colors
  • Pigment type

Our intention is to offer the best result possible with any of our aesthetic skin treatments. Because there is so much variability among tattoos, we have carefully designed pricing packages that include up to 10 treatments. This pricing system also ensures that our patients are fully aware of their treatment costs up front.

How many treatments will I need?

Depending on the size, colors, and intensity of the tattoo being treated, a series of treatments is usually required for optimal results. Our tattoo removal packages allow for up to 10 treatments, which is sufficient for most tattoos.

How long do I have to wait between treatments?

In order to avoid discoloration and scarring, and give your body enough time to heal properly, tattoo removal treatments should be spaced about 4 to 6 weeks apart.

What happens after laser tattoo removal?

For about 24 hours after laser tattoo removal, the treated area may look dark pink and puffy and feel warm, similar to a sunburn. Applying cool compresses is often helpful to increase comfort and reduce redness and swelling. Care of the area is similar to after getting a tattoo, including avoiding sun exposure, using sunscreen, and washing twice a day with a gentle cleanser. You will be given specific care instructions after your treatment.

To learn more about your options, visit our laser tattoo removal website.

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Dr. Shim Ching's exceptional qualifications and results draw patients to his Honolulu plastic surgery practice from across the Hawaiian Islands including Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Select a location for driving directions to our practice.

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Shim Ching, MD