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If you’re planning to remove an unwanted tattoo, it’s important to find a safe, reliable, and effective method so you’ll not only have the tattoo removed completely but also avoid skin care complications.

The Difference Between Tattoo Excision & Laser Tattoo Removal

Tattoo Excision

This method removes tattoos by direct surgical excision, which is the process of cutting out the skin that contains the tattoo ink with a scalpel. A local, regional, or general anesthesia is often used, depending on the size of the tattoo. The skin around the tattoo is then stitched together to close the wound. This method is best for small tattoos and may not be feasible if the area is too large. This method also reduces common side effects of other tattoo removal methods like blistering and hyperpigmentation.

Laser Tattoo Removal

This FDA-approved procedure uses laser technology of various wavelengths to break down ink particles of the corresponding colors in a tattoo over a series of treatment sessions. The smaller molecules are then removed by the body’s immune system, causing the tattoo to fade over time.

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The Pros and Cons of Tattoo Excision vs. Laser Tattoo Removal

Time

Tattoo excision is a one-time surgical process during which a plastic surgeon removes an unwanted tattoo using a scalpel. The procedure usually takes one to several hours, depending on the tattoo’s size and the surgeon’s repair method. Then, it typically takes several weeks for the surgery site to heal.

It takes about a year to remove a tattoo completely using laser tattoo removal. Treatment sessions are spaced no less than six weeks apart. Most people require an average of eight sessions, depending on the combination of lasers used, depth and density of the tattoo, ink composition, ink location, as well as the health and lifestyle of the individual. All of these factors directly affect how well the immune system functions.

Aftercare

After tattoo excision, you’ll need to leave the bandages in place for 48 hours. Once you have removed the bandages, the surgical site should be cleaned with soap and water every day. You can apply an ointment prescribed by your surgeon to aid the healing and prevent infection. You should also keep the site clean and out of the sun for at least two weeks.

Since the healing process after laser tattoo removal depends on the body’s immune system, you need to support the body’s overall health post-treatment, e.g., by eating a proper diet, exercising, and avoiding drugs and alcohol. You should also clean the treatment area daily, cover the area with a bandage if necessary, wear sun protection, and avoid hot water.

Results

You can expect to experience some scarring after tattoo excision. However, if you follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions, you can reduce the risk of severe scarring. Also, don’t pick at the excision site and avoid strenuous activities that could stretch the area right after surgery. The scar will typically fade over time.

The goal of laser tattoo removal is 100% clearance, but it’s not always possible due to the body’s ability to remove the ink particles completely. If you keep your body in good overall health, use a reputable laser tattoo removal service, and follow the proper aftercare procedures to prevent hyper- or hypopigmentation, you may not experience any scarring or damage.

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