New device promises to rid tattoos completely with far less side effects

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by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist David Gardner and editor Rob Diaz

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on May 12, 2013 at 10:51 PM

Updated Monday, May 13 at 7:26 AM

Austin -- Painful blistering and numerous treatments are just two of the reasons people looking to rid themselves of tattoos have shied away from traditional laser procedures.

Now a new FDA approved laser tattoo removal device promises to significantly decrease those side effects. It's so new there's only 15 in the world, and one's right here in Austin.

Lachelle Robinson, 31, has a few tattoos.

"My other tattoos are easy to hide when I dress up, so it's really easy to hide them," she said.

That's not the case with the one on her right foot.

"Now that I'm not 21, I want to be able to look professional when I'm at work," said Robinson.

Still -- like many looking to get rid of their tattoos-- Robinson's heard the horror stories about blistering and other problems with traditional removal lasers .

"I had  gone to several consultations with the traditional laser removal process," said Robinson.  "They had not assured me the coloring in my tattoo would be able to be removed.  They also mentioned that procedure would take 10 - 15 treatments."

Then Robinson learned about the new PicoSure Laser Treatment. 

It's so new there are only 15 in the world and Westlake Dermatology has one. Unlike traditional nanosecond lasers that deliver heat to the pigment and surrounding tissue - PicoSure's pressure-wave technology claims to shatter even the smallest of target particles.  Doctors at Westlake Dermatology say it results in fewer treatments and no injury to surrounding tissue.  The PicoSure Laser also claims to be effective on previously treated tattoos that failed to clear -- even removing dark, stubborn blue and green inks.

"The PicoSure laser is the first laser that's able to capture all of the colors of the tattoo," said Kyle Coleman, M.D., a dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology.  "It (gets rid of) the whole spectrum of the rainbow and we really have a chance of getting rid of all that tattoo."

"I was very nervous about the procedure but I am ready to get rid of this tattoo," said Robinson.

The procedure takes less than 5 minutes. 

The minimal heat from the laser covers the tattoo pigment in a white vapor.  Doctor Coleman says that fades in about a month. 

Then Robinson will be ready for her second treatment. Coleman says a total of four treatments is usually all it takes to get rid of the tattoo. As for how much it hurts - Robinson says it's about the same as getting a tattoo with one exception.

"It only took 5-minutes," she said.  "I think my tattoo took about 2-hours. I can't wait to see what it looks like in a few days and at the end of my 4th treatment. I'm just glad the process is started and maybe by the end of summer i will have a foot clear of tattoos."

Doctor Coleman says insurance does not cover any of the cost of tattoo removal.

He says to get a tattoo of 4-centimeters removed would cost 15-hundred to two thousand dollars. 

That price includes all four treatments. 

For more on the PicoSure Tattoo Laser procedure at Westlake Dermatology: click here


 

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