Laser Tattoo Removal
 

Laser tattoo removal might look simpler than getting inked, but it's actually a really complicated process that shouldn't be relied on as a casual solution to a permanent problem.Here's how it works.

Tattoo inks tend to be made of compounds from heavy metals. Tattoo inks often contain metals like lead, copper, and manganese. Some red inks even contain mercury.The metals in the ink is what gives tattoos their permanency.

From the moment a needle deposits ink deep in the skin, the immune system recognizes these particles as foreign intruders, dispatching armies of white blood cells to engulf them. The white blood cells then escort small ink particles to the liver, where they are processed and excreted.But many of the ink particles are much larger than white blood cells, which is why new tattoos fade over time, but won't completely disappear naturally.

Even over time, as the white blood cells eat away at the ink particles, most are still too large for the white blood cells to grab onto and remove from the skin. A white blood cell trying to engulf an ink particle would be like a human "taking a bite out of an elephant."That's why they're permanent. To erase a tattoo, you need lasers to break up the ink particles.

Tattoo removal lasers, also called Q-switch lasers or ultra-short pulse lasers, are extremely hot, operate in a very narrow frequency, and are very, very fast. Typical tattoo removal lasers work on a scale of picoseconds, or a trillionth of a second.
This speed and heat is crucial to cracking the ink particles apart. We are one of only a few clinics with a picosecond Active Q switch Nd:YAG laser. 

To break up an ink particle, you need to heat it to make it expand due to thermal expansion, but the zap has to be quick enough so that half of the particle remains cool. The opposing cool and hot forces then rip the ink particle apart.
This process, called photothermolysis, is also used in laser hair removal.

The lasers heat the ink particles to thousands of degrees, but it happens so rapidly and specifically directed toward the ink that the laser doesn't burn the tissue — the energy instead collapses into a shockwave. The shockwave vibrates through the skin and causes the upper layer of skin to lift up and appear white, or to "frost." 

Once the lasers break the ink particles apart into bite-sized chunks, the white blood cells can absorb them for transportation to the liver.

Now this may sound relatively easy, but the process of tattoo removal often takes several rounds of treatments. Darker pigments are eliminated more easily while lighter and more reflective inks are less responsive to the lasers.








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LASER TATTOO REMOVAL SUMMARY
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Recovery Time: 0 – 1 days

Treatment time: From 5 minutes

Number of treatments: typically 4-12 and depends on the size and type of tattoo

Longevity of results: Permanent

Approximate cost: From £30 to £60 per session (depends on the tattoo size)

Course advised: Yes. Number of sessions depends on the type of tattoo

Laser Type:PICOSECOND Active Q switch Nd:YAG 532nm / 1064nm

Local anaesthetic Injections are available prior to treatment if desired.

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