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Laser Tattoo Removal

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Laser Tattoo Removal?

There are minimal side effects to laser tattoo removal. However, you should consider these factors in your decision:

  • The tattoo removal site is at risk for infection. You may also risk lack of complete pigment removal, and there is a slight chance that the treatment can leave you with a permanent scar.
  • You may also risk hypopigmentation, where the treated skin is paler than surrounding skin, or hyperpigmentation, where the treated skin is darker than surrounding skin.
  • Cosmetic tattoos like lip liner, eyeliner, and eyebrows may darken following treatment with tattoo removal lasers. Further treatment of the darkened tattoos usually results in fading.

Is Laser Tattoo Removal Safe?

Thanks to newer technology, laser tattoo removal has become much more effective with very little risk of scarring. Laser treatment is often safer than many traditional methods such as excision, dermabrasion or salabrasion (using moist gauze pads saturated with a salt solution to abrade the tattooed area) because of its unique ability to selectively treat pigment involved in the tattoo.

In many cases, certain colors may be more effectively removed than others. It is known that blue/black tattoos respond particularly well to laser treatment -- the response of other colors is under investigation.

Remember, the information provided here is designed to provide general information only and is not a replacement for a doctor's advice. For details pertaining to your specific case, please arrange a consultation with a physician experienced in the use of tattoo lasers.

Does Insurance Cover Laser Tattoo Removal?

Since tattoo removal is a personal option in most cases and is considered a cosmetic procedure, most insurance carriers will not cover the process unless it is medically necessary. Physicians or surgery centers practicing tattoo removal may also require payment in full on the day of the procedure. If you are considering tattoo removal, be sure to discuss associated costs up front and obtain all charges in writing before you undergo any treatment.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on July 21, 2014
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