Bleeding is a risk with any procedure but tends to be very minimal if it occurs at all with laser tattoo removal. The initial few treatments are typically so superficial that there is no bleeding; with future treatments, the laser penetrates deeper so there may be some mild bleeding and scabbing after the procedure; serious bleeding is not a concern.
Bleeding is more of a concern with surgical removal of a tattoo. You will receive a list of medications to avoid for two weeks before surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding. We strongly recommend that you pay serious attention to that list.
Infection is extremely rare. We typically apply a topical antibiotic cream after the treatment and recommend that you do the same at least twice a day for several days after the treatment.
Change in Ink Color
Rarely when tattoo ink is hit with laser light it causes the ink to permanently change color. This most commonly happens with white ink which can turn black and with cosmetic tattoos on the face.
The laser light cannot differentiate between natural skin pigment and ink pigment, therefore, it is possible for the laser to remove or lighten ones natural skin color. This is a bigger concern for patients with dark skin which can permanently become lighter as a result of the laser treatments. Fortunately, this is often temporary and much of the color can come back over time. This is one of the main reasons why the PicoSure Laser is not used on patients with dark skin. Darkening of the skin can also occur as a result of the laser treatments and also tends to occur more commonly in patients with darker skin. This hyperpigmentation generally fades over time but it is usually slow to resolve and can be permanent.
Laser tattoo removal is similar to laser hair removal and it can permanently remove hair in the area that is treated. This typically only happens to dark hairs and the tattoo laser is not a good hair removal laser so, although the hair may fall out, it almost always will grow back.
Scarring is probably the biggest concern for those getting their tattoos removed with a laser. The more aggressive the treatments, the more likely it is to get a scar. Certain areas on the body are more likely to scar such as the wrists and ankles. Fortunately, most scars from tattoo removal are very small and much less noticeable that the tattoo.
Injury to the eyes is a risk with any laser treatment, which is why everyone in the room during the procedure must wear protective goggles.
It is extremely rare for a laser tattoo treatment to stimulate ones immune system and cause it to recognize the ink as a foreign material resulting in an immune attack on tattoo ink in other areas of the body causing that ink to fade even though it was not treated by the laser.
Blistering is possible with any type of laser treatment and is not uncommon with laser tattoo removal. Let us know if you blister with a treatment and we can instruct you on local care as well as adjust the laser with future treatments.