These are the factors that determine the number of treatments:
- Picosecond vs Q-switched nanosecond technology
- Training and expertise of the operator
- Fitzpatrick skin type: I-VI
- Amount of ink and colour of the tattoo
- Where the tattoo is on the body
PICOSECOND VS Q-SWITCHED (NANOSECOND) TECHNOLOGY
Picosecond systems, like the PicoWay clear tattoos in less than half the number of treatments performed on a Q-switched laser. PicoWay on average clears tattoos in 6-8 treatments compared to Q-switched laser which takes 12-15 treatments. PicoWay is a little more expensive per treatment, however as Q-switched laser takes more than double the amount of time, the actual total cost of the tattoo removal works out to be more expensive on the Q-switched laser. Detail Tattoo Removal also provides a 10 treatment guarantee so you do not pay any more than 10 treatments.
Note: Not all Picosecond laser systems are created equal. Some Picosecond laser system’s (like the PicoSure) performance is no better than the Q-switched laser. So make sure you choose the right Picosecond laser system.
See these articles for more information:
TRAINING AND EXPERTISE OF THE OPERATOR
Having the leading technology like a PicoWay is a very important factor, however if the operator isn’t trained and does not have the expertise to use the device correctly, the results will be disappointing. “A scalp is only able to be effective in the hands of an experienced surgeon”. An experienced operator has to understand the parameters to use based on the skin type and skin response to achieve the results without damaging the skin. A laser system is an extremely powerful medical device. The laser can do irreparable damage if the wrong parameters are entered.
An experienced operator knows what to look for as the skin responds to the laser to achieve the Maximum Effective Threshold. The key is to balance the exact amount of energy to clear the ink pigment without damaging the skin. The opposite is also a problem when the operator uses too-large-a-spot size or too little energy. This will result is no response and waste a treatment. Finding the perfect balance comes with training and experience on the laser system. An expert operator will be able to clear a tattoo with less treatments.
See these articles for more information:
FITZPATRICK SKIN TYPE: I-VI
The lighter the skin (type I) the more energy you can use. The more energy you use, the faster you clear the tattoo. The reason is lighter skin types have less melanin, so the laser is only attracted to the tattoo ink. The darker the skin (type VI), means the energy needs to be lower, so as not to clear the natural melanin pigment. In most cases, the same tattoo with the same amount of ink will take more treatments in a darker skin type vs lighter skin type.
AMOUNT OF INK AND COLOUR OF THE TATTOO
An amateur tattoo or light shading in a tattoo has very little ink in the skin so fewer treatments are required. A professional or darker solid tattoo will take many more treatments. The laser has to break down the ink by shattering it, so more ink means more treatments.
A colourful tattoo can increase the number of treatments if it is combined with black in the same area. Black ink needs to be treated first, then once this is gone, the operator can treat the coloured ink. Recovery on the area is required in between so the number of treatments is increased.
WHERE THE TATTOO IS ON THE BODY
The body’s immune system is what removes the shattered ink pigment. Macrophages (white blood cells) engulf and digest the ink pigment then carry it away in the immune system. As the heart pumps blood up to the head first then down the body, tattoos that are on the head/neck are cleared quicker than tattoos that are on the ankle. Therefore, tattoos on the upper parts of the body require less treatments than the lower body.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS TO CLEAR A TATTOO?
As you can see, there are a number of factors that determine the number of treatments required to clear a tattoo. To understand fully, a personalised consultation is required. A good rule of thumb with the PicoWay is that on average a tattoo is cleared in 6-8 treatments. Here are some examples of the number of treatments each of these tattoos took to remove with the cost.
How much laser tattoo removal costs really depends on the size of the tattoo and the number of treatments required. The hardest part to determine is how many treatments the tattoo will take. Most laser tattoo removal clinics will just charge as you go. Cheap single treatments like Q-switched laser is a false economy as the number of treatments is more than double the number of treatments compared to PicoWay. So the total end costs can be more expensive than just choosing the PicoWay in the first place.
Even clinics with Picosecond laser systems will charge as you go. We have seen many clients that have spent $1000’s of dollars with other clinics only to come to Eden Tattoo Removal to spend the same amount again to get the tattoo cleared correctly.