The Lowdown on Laser Tattoo Removal Pain

By some estimates, as many as half of all people that get a tattoo experience “tattoo regret” at some point during their lives. Fortunately, tattoo regret is much more effectively addressed today, thanks to state-of-the-art laser treatments that shatter tattoo ink without significant damage to skin and tissue. The Picosure laser removes tattoos more effectively and with fewer treatments than prior laser systems. Despite these advances, many that would like to get rid of tattoos often avoid removal procedure due to the fear of a painful experience. If that is you, Umansky Plastic Surgery has the lowdown on what to expect from the latest tattoo removal device, the PicoSure laser.

Getting Ink vs. Getting Rid of Ink
Many people that have been through both the tattoo and the tattoo removal process will say the two procedures are very similar in terms of comfort level. It should be noted that each person’s pain threshold is different, so do not base your upcoming experience with someone else’s. The laser used to treat the tattoo emits rapid-fire pulses, which means most removal sessions take just a few minutes to complete. That means that even if you do find the procedure to be uncomfortable, the discomfort will not last for very long.

Sensitive Areas
The same areas that are more sensitive for getting tattoos will also be more sensitive during the removal process. As a general rule, areas with less fat and tissue tend to be more painful areas to get inked. Joints are especially uncomfortable for most people because they tend to experience a lot of motion. In addition to an uncomfortable procedure, you may still feel the effects of your inking long after your session is over.

The hands and feet also tend to be more painful places to get tattooed because of the all the nerve endings in these areas. At the same time, the hands and feet see so much activity, it is not unusual for tattoos in these areas to fade over time. Other sensitive areas for inking might include the chest and anywhere on the head.

Making Treatment More Comfortable
If you are interested in pursuing tattoo removal, the good news is there are steps we can take to minimize your discomfort during and after the procedure. Topical numbing cream can be used to reduce pain levels. However, this approach does not fully eliminate discomfort, since the laser will work into deeper levels of the dermis than the topical medication can touch.

Local anesthesia can also be an option, particularly for those more sensitive areas. Local anesthesia is delivered by injection and patients often need more than one shot to fully numb the area. However, after the initial injections are finished, most patients report feeling no discomfort during the laser procedure.

The Commitment Factor
While we can offer choices to make tattoo removal a more pleasant experience overall, most patients will need at least 5-6 treatment sessions to remove their tattoos completely. Treatments also must be spaced about 4-6 weeks apart to allow the skin time to heal in between procedures. If you are serious about tattoo removal, you need to be prepared for a process that will likely take many weeks or even months to complete.

The staff at Umansky Plastic Surgery is ready to help you address your tattoo regret with the latest and most effective technology on the market today. To learn more about tattoo removal using the PicoSure laser, contact our office today at 858-281-4560.