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Proceedings Paper

Tattoo removal with the alexandrite laser: a clinical and histologic study
Author(s): Richard E. Fitzpatrick; Mitchel P. Goldman
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Paper Abstract

The incident of tattoos in the United States is estimated to be in the range of 9 to 11% of the adult population. Various studies have shown that of these persons having tattoos, as many as 50 to 80% regret having gotten the tattoo and may desire tattoo removal. Previous treatment modalities have all used methods which require tissue destruction in order to remove the tattoo ink. The primary problems with use of these modalities has been the unpredictability of scarring. Also, residual tattoo pigment remaining after completion of the treatment process has been a problem. In response to these problems, the Q-switched lasers have been developed which target the tattoo pigments specifically rather than the tissue containing the tattoo pigment. The alexandrite laser (made by Candela Laser Corporation) has a wavelength of 755 nm and a pulse width of 100 nsec plus or minus 10 nsec. Reflectance studies have indicated that black, blue and green ink should absorb this wavelength relatively well, while red ink would not be expected to absorb this wavelength well. The mechanism of action of this laser is selective absorption of the laser energy by the tattoo pigment resulting in fragmentation of the pigment and then engulfment by tissue macrophages which remove the fragmented tattoo pigment. Preliminary studies using a Yucatan mini pig confirmed these expectations with black ink being easier to remove than blue and green, and red ink being minimally responsive. Higher fluences were more effective.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 1993
PDF: 2 pages
Proc. SPIE 1876, Lasers in Otolaryngology, Dermatology, and Tissue Welding, (1 July 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.147014
Show Author Affiliations
Richard E. Fitzpatrick, Dermatology Associates of San Diego County, Inc. (United States)
Mitchel P. Goldman, Dermatology Associates of San Diego County, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1876:
Lasers in Otolaryngology, Dermatology, and Tissue Welding
R. Rox Anderson; Lawrence S. Bass; Stanley M. Shapshay; John V. White; Rodney A. White, Editor(s)

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