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Tattoo Removal

*Individual results may vary

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The reasons that drive one to seek plastic surgeon’s help to remove the tattoo surgically vary. They include the followings:

  • The rebellious phase in life was replaced with a more conforming state of mind.
  • The cultural, social or political affiliation to the subject of the tattoo has been terminated.
  • The tattoo acquires a negative connotation in their mind.
  • The negative impact the tattoo presents on one’s ability to make a living. Job opportunities may be reduced. Social and romantic engagement can be diminished as well.
  • They’ve tried to remove the tattoo by laser and were not happy with the results. They are now ready to trade off the unsavory look of the diminished tattoo with a surgical scar.

From a clinical perspective, tattoo can be classified into ‘professional’ and ‘non- professional’. The ‘professional’ tattoos are introduced by a tattoo artist who usually uses a tattoo machine. The pigment is introduced into the dermis in an even manner and therefore is expected to be found in an even depth. The pigment often consists of various metal particles and is multicolor. The ‘non- professional’, amateur tattoo is usually introduced using a free-hand technique and therefore is expected to be found in different depths throughout the dermis and sometimes in deeper skin tissues. The amateur technique usually employs cigarette ashes as a pigment. It is typically dark blue in color. The blue color of the tattoo, interestingly, does not reflect the original color of the pigment used, which is usually black. The blue color derives from a change to the physical properties of the skin.

Surgical removal of Tattoo

  • The procedure involves removal of the tattoo along with the cells in which it is contained. The surgical excision creates a wound that needs to be sutured. The closure technique is determined by the size and location of the wound and the wound closure invariably creates a scar.*
  • Surgical tattoo removal is effective for small tattoos only.