Tattoos are indelible patterns made on the skin by introducing pigments into its deeper layers. When the tattoo is unwanted, it is possible to reduce its visual impact, and often remove it completely, using a laser.
The lasers which are used to remove tattoos shatter the pigment granules into tiny particles small enough to be removed by the body’s natural scavenger cells. The latest tattoo lasers are able to handle most tattoo colours – professional blue-black tattoos are the easiest to remove, and oranges, greens and yellows are the most difficult.
Normally a test treatment is carried out to establish the lowest effective level of energy needed to remove the tattoo whilst minimising the risk of skin damage and scarring. Once this is established, the number of further treatments required depends upon the size, colour and type of the tattoo.
Treatment is not especially painful, and feels rather like an elastic band being snapped against the skin. A local anaesthetic cream can be used if necessary. Immediately after treatment, the skin may turn white, then become red, raised and tender. Sometimes a crust develops which will separate to leave normal skin after ten to fourteen days.
Repeated treatments may be necessary and 100% clearing cannot be guaranteed.
If the area to be treated is very small, it may be neither practical nor necessary to carry out a test patch.
Treated skin is sensitive to the sun, and it is wise to wear a TOTAL sunblock on the treated area for at least six weeks, and then to avoid excessive sun exposure for a further six months.
AFTER TREATMENT WITH THE LASER
• You may use a simple moisturiser provided that the skin is unbroken. Camouflage make-up such as Dermablend can help to hide bruises on unbroken skin.
• You may bathe the treated area as normal but simply pat the skin dry and avoid rubbing. Avoid shaving until the inflammation has settled.
• Many people find that Aloe Vera Gel is very soothing if the treated areas are sore.
• Slight crusting or scabbing may develop. If the skin cracks, use a mild antiseptic cream such as Savlon two to three times a day to reduce the risk of infection whilst the skin heals.
• After treatment you should avoid contact sports until the bruising has subsided.
• Aspirin and pain-killing preparations like Brufen and Ibuprofen should be avoided as they can increase bruising. Use paracetamol (Panadol) instead.
COST OF TREATMENT
Treatment at the Lister Hospital, London with the Nd:YAG tattoo laser
LAND Test patch £488 (Hospital 213, Surgeon 275)
YAG05 Minor £694 (Hospital 315, Surgeon 379)
YAG15 Inter £1135 (Hospital 525, Surgeon 610)
YAG 30 Major £1576 (Hospital 735, Surgeon 841)
YAG 40 Major Plus £2149 (Hospital 1050, Surgeon 1099)
YAG 60 Extensive £2585 (Hospital 1260, Surgeon 1325)
Follow up fee: for additional appointments, if necessary £100
Surgical fees for treatment are payable on booking, either at the test patch (first treatment) or formal treatment rates.
Hospital fees should be settled with the hospital direct immediately after treatment.
The Lister Hospital laser unit is situated in the Sydney Street Outpatients & Diagnostic Centre, 102 Sydney Street, London SW3 6NR. On-line directions can be found at www.thelisterhospital.com/map.asp.
If you are taking the contraceptive pill, you do not need to discontinue it.
Should you cancel your surgery or appointments with less than 48 hours’ notice, a cancellation fee of up to 100% of the surgery or appointment charge may be charged. Please note that fees will not be refunded for cancellations made less than 24 hours in advance.
The initial treatment is normally a test patch whose fee is shown in the test patch band. A test patch is a limited amount of treatment designed to show how effective treatment is likely to be, to test for adverse reactions and to give a rough guide to how much treatment is likely to be needed overall. If you are specific about which cost band you wish to remain within, please let Mr Gault know. Some areas are so small that only a single test patch band treatment is necessary. However, there is no guarantee that a single treatment will be sufficient for your needs, and repeat treatments may be necessary. All treatments after the test patch treatments are charged as a minor treatment or above, depending on the pulses used.