Tattoo Excision and Ablation

About Tattoo Excision and Ablation

While laser tattoo removal is in the majority of cases the preferred tattoo removal approach, there are certain circumstances where tattoo excision or ablation is required to fully remove residual ink or to completely remove a tattoo in a single treatment session. These approaches to tattoo removal involve the following:

      • Tattoo Excision: When a tattoo is excised, it is surgically removed from the body. Your physician will perform an excision with either a conventional scalpel blade, or a CO2 laser, and sutures will be placed to close the resultant wound. Tattoo excision can be performed on areas of the body that have sufficient skin laxity to accommodate a surgical closure, and on tattoos that are not too large. This is a good option for individuals who wish to have the entirety of their tattoo removed in a single treatment session, and who are ok with having a surgical scar in its place.
      • Tattoo Ablation: When a tattoo is ablated, a CO2 laser is used to precisely vaporize the skin until no more ink is visible. Depending on the extent of the area that is vaporized, the skin may be left to heal from the margins, or it may be sutured closed.  This is a good option for small areas of residual ink that are no longer responding to laser tattoo removal, areas that need to be removed because of tattoo allergies or granulomas, or portions of eyebrow tattoos that are not responding well to laser removal treatments.

Am I a good candidate for tattoo excision or ablation?

There are many factors that one must consider when determining whether excision or ablation are preferred over conventional laser tattoo removal treatments. These factors include:

      • Size of the tattoo
      • Location of the tattoo
      • Skin laxity in the area
      • Anatomic mobility of the area
      • Prior laser removal attempts
      • Amount of tattoo ink remaining
      • Degree of scarring already present in the tattoo
      • Cost
      • Time
      • Willingness to accept a surgical excision scar
      • Willingness to accept scars caused by ablation

What is the recovery time for tattoo excision or ablation?

When a tattoo is surgically excised, the sutures that are placed to close the site will remain in place for 1-2 weeks (depending on the anatomic location as well as the amount of tension that the area is under at the time of closure). For patients who wish to further improve the appearance of their surgical scars  resulting from tattoo excision, Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center has a vast array of options with which to do so.

When a tattoo is ablated, the skin will either be left to heal on its own from the margins, or it will be sutured closed. The amount of time that it will take skin to heal from the margins is dependent on the size and location of the area treated. This process may take anywhere from 1-4 weeks depending on these factors.

How many sessions of tattoo excision or ablation will I need to remove my tattoo?
Excision and ablation are both one-and-done approaches—the unwanted ink of your tattoo will be removed in its entirely during a single treatment session. Excision and ablation are therefore attractive options for people who need to have their tattoos removed by a certain deadline (such as a work or armed services requirement), who have already invested a great deal into laser tattoo removal but are still grappling with residual ink that is no longer getting lighter with each laser session, or who just want to be rid of any unpleasant reminders or associations that the tattoo holds for them.

Why can’t my tattoo be fully removed with a laser?

In the majority of cases, laser tattoo removal is the preferred approach to getting rid of an unwanted tattoo. However, there are certain features that a tattoo might possess that could make laser removal difficult. These features include:

      • Deeply placed ink: If your tattoo artist was very heavy-handed and placed the ink very deeply in your skin, it is possible that a significant amount of ink will be beyond the reach of the laser. When this happens, the only option to remove deeply placed ink is to either surgically excise it or vaporize it with a CO2 laser.
      • Stubborn ink color:  The laser wavelengths that we have to utilize for tattoo removal at the Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center include 1064-nm, 755-nm, 694-nm, and 532-nm. Although these represent the most comprehensive set of wavelengths in laser tattoo removal technology, it still boils down to 4 wavelengths that our physicians have to work with when attempting to remove your tattoo. Tattoos can often contain a myriad of customized and unusual colors, many of which do not optimally respond to any of these wavelengths.

What is the cost of tattoo excision or ablation?

The cost of tattoo excision or ablation depends on the size of the tattoo being treated, and the intricacy of the procedure required to remove it completely. These factors vary greatly among individuals. During your cosmetic consultation, your physician will evaluate your unique needs and determine how these factors will bear upon cost. Many patients find, however, that the cost of a single ablation or excision treatment is less than the cumulative cost of laser tattoo removal.

Why trust Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center to excise or ablate my tattoo?

At Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center, our board-certified dermatologists are experts in skin surgery as well as lasers. Our physicians have treated thousands of tattoos over the course of decades, utilizing the most advanced nano- and picosecond lasers. You can be assured that they will carefully evaluate your unique tattoo, and discuss the full breadth of treatment options with you, prior to collaboratively deciding with you on a course of treatment. In addition to the expertise of our physicians, Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center has the most state-of-the-art laser technology that can be used to remove your tattoo by conventional means, ablate or excise your tattoo with the use of CO2 laser, as well as improve the appearance of any scars that are associated with the tattoo removal process. With our numerous treatment options, the surgical skill of our board-certified dermatologists, and our advanced laser technology, the Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center can offer you safe, efficacious, customized, and complete tattoo removal.

Begin your aesthetic journey with us today.