Tattoo Removal – PicoPlus
As the popularity of tattoos grows, so does the need for tattoo removal. At the Aesthetic Clinique, we have the most powerful laser on the market for tattoo removal, the PicoPlus from Lutronic. PicoPlus has both nanosecond (Q Switched) and picosecond capabilities to provide many options for treatment. The main wavelength is the 1064nm which treats black ink most effectively and is safe for all skin types.
Why is the PicoPlus laser better than others?
The PicoPlus pulse duration is shorter than all other picosecond lasers on the market at 450 picoseconds. This short pulse duration makes the peak power of the laser = 1.8 gigawatts, higher than all other lasers. Shorter pulse durations evoke less thermal injury and more acoustic trauma which is more desirable to break up tattoo inks.
How do Picosecond lasers differ from traditional Nanosecond (Q Switched) lasers?
Picosecond lasers are more powerful and much shorter pulse durations than nanosecond lasers. To treat tattoos, the laser is applied to the ink and the energy breaks the ink into smaller particles. The smaller the particles, the easier it is for the body to degrade the ink and remove it. With the higher energies of the picosecond lasers, the treated particles of ink are smaller than with the QS lasers. Therefore, picosecond lasers lead to faster and more effective clearance of tattoos than QS lasers.
What is R0 protocol?
After a single pass with a tattoo laser, there are gas bubbles created under the skin surface. If these bubbles are removed using a topical chemical called PFD (perfluorodecalin), further treatments on the tattoo can be performed IF THE SKIN CAN TOLERATE FURTHER TREATMENT. (If the skin is too red, has petechia, or is too hot, no further treatments can be performed.) If further passes are possible, the tattoo clearance can be expedited. Keep in mind that 3 passes does not equate to 3 treatments of the tattoo.
How many treatments are needed for tattoo removal?
As a rough guideline, there is a scale called the Kirby-Desai scale which can give estimates on number of treatments needed. The factors affecting number of treatments are:
- Colors: Black is the easiest color to remove. More colors = more treatments. Difficult colors are tan, white, light blue, pink
- Scarring: If there is any existing scarring in a tattoo, it will be harder to treat
- Distance from heart: Further from the heart, the harder it is to remove
- Skin type: Darker skin types will require more treatments because settings will have to be lower
- Ink thickness: Thicker ink will be harder to treat. Linear tattoos are generally harder too
- Layering: Cover up tattoos are harder to treat
How long between treatments?
If it is possible, at least 6 weeks is recommended between treatments. 1 study showed that 12 weeks was probably even better than 6 weeks.
Post procedure guidelines?
It is imperative that one observes sun protection for 3-4 weeks on either side of treatment. Cooling the area for the first 24 hours is beneficial if there is swelling or redness. If the skin is broken or blistered, the skin must be kept moist with the recommended ointments.
How does The Aesthetic Clinique control discomfort for tattoo removal?
We have several options for controlling discomfort. High strength numbing creams are applied topically. The Zimmer chiller is always used to cool the skin and numb as well. If desired, the tattoo can be injected with lidocaine to completely numb the area. Lastly, ProNox, “laughing gas”, can be used (for an extra fee) to make the experience more comfortable.