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Prognostic Factors ID’d for Q-Switched Laser Tattoo Removal

Last Updated: September 19, 2012.

Several prognostic factors impact effective tattoo removal by Q-switched laser, while a new picosecond 755-nm alexandrite laser is safe and effective for removing tattoo pigment, according to two studies published online Sept. 17 in the Archives of Dermatology.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Several prognostic factors impact effective tattoo removal by Q-switched laser, while a new picosecond 755-nm alexandrite laser is safe and effective for removing tattoo pigment, according to two studies published online Sept. 17 in the Archives of Dermatology.

In the first study, Pier Luca Bencini, M.D., from the Istituto di Chirurgia e Laserchirurgia in Dermatologia in Milan, and colleagues analyzed factors affecting successful tattoo removal using a Q-switched laser (1064/532-nm Nd:YAG and 755-nm alexandrite) in 397 patients. The researchers found that 74.8 percent of patients had successful removal after 15 sessions. Clinical response to treatment correlated with smoking, tattoo color, tattoo size, tattoo location, tattoo age, time between treatments, and whether or not a darkening phenomenon developed.

In the second study, Nazanin Saedi, M.D., from SkinCare Physicians in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and colleagues examined the efficacy of a picosecond 755-nm alexandrite laser for tattoo removal in 12 patients with darkly-pigmented tattoos. The researchers found that, after two to four treatments, 75 percent of patients achieved greater than 75 percent removal. Pain resolved immediately after treatment, while swelling and blistering resolved within a week. All patients reported being satisfied or extremely satisfied.

"The picosecond 755-nm alexandrite laser is a safe and very effective device for tattoo removal and seems to clear pigment in tattoos more rapidly than Q-switched lasers," Saedi and colleagues conclude. "Picosecond lasers are an emerging technology that has the potential to optimize the treatment of tattoos."

The second study was partially supported by a research grant from Cynosure; several authors disclosed financial ties to the company.

Abstract - Bencini
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Abstract - Saedi
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