PicoWay vs Discovery Pico: An Honest Comparison

Picoway vs Discovery Pico SydneyIn the last 2 years the standard for tattoo removal has conclusively moved away from the Q-Switched laser systems to Picosecond systems. The consumer now also has a few other choices other than the PicoWay (the system we use) or the PicoSure.

The latest release is the Quanta Discovery Pico. This article is to help you understand the difference between laser systems and factors to consider when comparing Sydney tattoo removal pricing between clinics.



PicoWay: Picosecond platform

Discovery Pico: Hybrid picosecond/nanosecond platform

PicoWay is a second-generation picosecond device with a dedicated picosecond platform. Discovery Pico is a second-generation picosecond device with a peculiar hybrid picosecond/ nanosecond platform. The claim is sometimes you need nanosecond and then sometimes you need picosecond. Nanosecond produces heat therefore creates sub-dermal scarring as it treats tattoos. The scar tissue encapsulates the tattoo ink and limits the body’s lymphatic system to remove the ink. There is no scientific reason a laser system would use a superseded technology to assist in the latest technology. We have seen many tattoos that have resisted fading due to the use of a nanosecond laser. We used other modalities such as a fractionated RF device to break up the scarred tissue to release the ink.


See article:PicoWay Laser Makes Q-Switch Tattoo Removal Obsolete



PicoWay: 3 wavelengths – 532nm, 785nm, 1064nm

Discovery Pico: 2 wavelengths – 532nm, 1064nm, (694nm is nanosecond)

Wavelengths of lasers refer to how deep a laser can reach in the skin and also different colours are attracted to certain wavelengths. The PicoWay has 3 picosecond wavelengths 523nm, 785nm and 1064nm. This scale is shallowest to the deepest respectively. 785nm is proven to be highly successful in treating the difficult blues and greens. We have seen these colours cleared in 1-2 treatments in 80% of cases.

The Discovery Pico only has 2 picosecond wavelengths at 532nm and 1064nm. It depends on the 694nm from a ruby laser that is in the nanosecond (Q-Switched) wavelength.  The 694nm ruby laser has been abandoned by most manufacturers due to its aggressive nature causing post-inflammation pigmentation (PIH), pain and downtime.



PicoWay: 375ps @ 532nm, 300ps @ 785nm, 450ps @1064nm

Discovery Pico: 370ps @ 532nm, 450 ps @ 1064nm, 6ns @ 694nm

Pule duration refers to the speed that the laser is fired. The lower the number i.e. 300ps the faster the laser. This is the most important aspect to tattoo removal. The faster the laser the more shattering shockwave effect the laser has.

PicoWay is the only true 3 picosecond wavelength rated at 370ps for the 532nm, 300ps for the 785nm and 450ps for the 1064nm. In fact, the PicoWay is the fastest in the world at 300ps.

Discovery Pico markets itself as 3 wavelengths but one of them is the ruby laser (694nm) with 6ns (nanosecond). The 532nm and 1064 are rated effectively the same.



PicoWay: 0.9gw @ 1064nm, 0.53gw @ 532nm

Discovery Pico: 1.8gw @ 1064nm, 0.9gw @ 532nm

The formula is Peak power =  Energy (J)/ Pulse duration (S). You would never operate at maximum energy (fluence) regardless what skin type or tattoo you are treating because it would cause irreparable trauma in the skin tissue. Therefore, peak power is irrelevant when used for tattoo removal on human tissue it is just marketing because if the clinician used too much energy they would be over treating, risking bleeding and blisters. Peak power marketing may be more relevant when talking about industrial applications. The aim is to use the least amount of energy to create the fastest pulse duration. This ensures the least trauma to the tissue while treating. Ultimately, the only two specifications that matter are wavelengths and pulse duration.



PicoWay: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 mm spot sizes

Discovery Pico: 2, 3, 4, 5 (square) & 2, 4, 6, 8 (round)

The larger the spot size, the deeper the laser reaches. The smaller the spot size the more concentrated the laser becomes. The correct protocol is to start on the largest spot size and increase the fluence and assess skin response. Based on the how the tattoo and skin handles the parameters the clinician will continue to reduce the spot size to achieve maximum effective threshold. This is the perfect balance of energy used to achieve results without damaging the tissue.



PicoWay: Holographic fractional technology

Discovery Pico: Fractional technology

Both systems have the fractional laser function. This is primarily used for facial rejuvenation by cell destruction in the dermal layer with little to zero epidermal disruption. This process stimulates new collagen and elastin production.



Since the 2015 release, multiple clinical white papers have reported on the PicoWay’s success in clearing tattoos. Since the 2017 release of the 785nm the clearance rate of blue and green tattoos has increased significantly, in fact some have cleared after 1-2 treatments. Due to the time in the market the results have been well documented by many clinical studies.

Discovery Pico has just been recently released therefore the systems have not been in the market place long enough to establish in clinic results with photographic evidence.

Another important point is when a clinic says the words “guaranteed result” there should be a guarantee linked with the results. Otherwise, it is a hollow promise. Ask the clinic what they will do if the result is less than expectation.



This is one of the most misunderstood factors in tattoo removal. Many clinics are discounting to make their quote attractive. However, if the treatments take more time due to an inferior system or inexperienced operator the number of actual treatments could mean you need double the amount of treatments or more. This mistake could end up costing you more. This is when a maximum number of treatment guarantee will cap the total cost.



This is a very simple yet overlooked question a client forgets to ask the operator. “What are your qualifications?” In NSW there is no regulation preventing anyone operating a Class 4 laser. Qualified dermal clinicians, registered nurses and doctors are trained in understanding skin science and responses. If they are not one of these then the person handling the medical device doesn’t understand the clinical endpoints and contradictions of such devices.


Other articles to help you choose the right tattoo removal clinic:


We strongly advise you to research and visit a few clinics before making your final decision on the clinic you choose to perform your treatment. Price should only form a small part of why you choose the clinic. Professionalism, honesty and expert advice is as important, if not more important. If you choose the cheapest price it often becomes an expensive mistake in the long term.

If you would like to talk to the team at Eden Tattoo Removal you can call us on 02 8020 5819. Check out our tattoo removal before and after photos for Sydney.

The Cost of Laser Tattoo Removal – PicoWay Vs Nanosecond

Cost of tattoo removal in Sydney with picowayIf you have been researching laser tattoo removal providers, you will by now know that the cost for laser tattoo removal can vary wildly among providers. Price is always a factor and you may have also heard that Picosecond tattoo removal is much more expensive than traditional or older style Nanosecond removal.


But is this actually the case?


In this article we compare both options (old technology vs new technology), not on the cost per session, but on the total cost to remove your tattoo to give you the true price – the price for the result. See the calculations at the end of this article, you will be surprised!



The PicoWay laser is a new generation, FDA approved medical laser that acts in a similar way as traditional lasers. It sends laser energy into the skin which is absorbed by the pigment in tattoo ink, to shatter the ink into smaller particles which your body then removes.

The major difference between a Nanosecond (eg. Q-switched laser) and the PicoWay laser system is the speed at which each device delivers energy. The much faster speed of the PicoWay results in faster removal, with less pain and faster healing/ recovery time.

  • Nanosecond (slower pulse) measured in nanoseconds, a billionth of a second
  • Picosecond (faster pulse) measured in picoseconds, a trillionth of a second



Every time you talk to a tattoo removal clinic, you should be asking what laser device or machine they use. If they list their device as a Q-Switched ND:YAG, you need to ask the brand or manufacturer of the machine, a Q-Switched ND:YAG could be a $4,000 second hand Chinese import or a $60,000 branded device. If they won’t tell you then you should walk out the door.

There are now three Picosecond devices, the PicoWay, the PicoSure and the Discovery Pico. There is more information further on in this article as to why EdenTattoo Removal chose the PicoWay over the PicoSure (it was a pretty easy decision).

For a detailed comparison of PicoWay and Discovery Pico, see this article: PicoWay vs Discovery Pico: An Honest Comparison

If a tattoo removal clinic doesn’t say if they have Nanosecond or Picosecond, here are some of the many Nanosecond or Q-switched ND:Yag devices/ machines in Sydney:

  • Quanta Q-Plus C, Q-Switch laser
  • RevLite Q-Switch, laser
  • Astanza Q-Switch, laser
  • Pastelle Q-Switch laser
  • Palomar Q-YAG 5 laser
  • Candela ATV Q-Switch laser



At Eden Tattoo Removal, Sydney’s laser tattoo removal specialist, we have been removing tattoos in Sydney for over 5 years. We started with a Nanosecond device called an ATV (Alex TriVantage laser).

In 2014, we began discussions to purchase a Picosecond device. The reason we wanted to upgrade was because of the pain we saw in our clients during tattoo removal on the Nanosecond device and the amount of treatments it took to remove or fade a tattoo. The other major reason was the recovery time or the time between treatments.


Eden PicoWayWhen we were selecting a Picosecond device, we went with the PicoWay for three main reasons: 

  1. The PicoWay has almost 3 times more power than the PicoSure (0.9GW vs 0.36GW). When it comes to power, the more you have, the more ink you can shatter.
  2. The PicoWay uses majority photo-acoustic energy vs photo-thermal (heat). This was an extremely important difference as energy that causes mainly heat, causes damage to the skin and means recovery time is longer (longer between sessions).
  3. Three wavelengths, if you have been researching, you will know that different tattoo ink colours are targeted with different wavelengths, PicoSure came out with one wavelength, PicoWay has three Picosecond wavelengths 532nm, 785nm and 1064nm.



Many tattoo removal clinics in Sydney will advertise the cost per session as an individual treatment price. In reality, no laser will remove your tattoo in one session. So to calculate the cost of removing your tattoo, you need to multiply the cost of a tattoo removal session by the number of treatments. Then you will get the true cost or the results-based price for removing your tattoo. Then you can truly compare tattoo removal providers in Sydney!

To make this calculation easy we will consider removing a medium sized, black tattoo that is 50cm2 (roughly 10cm by 5cm) filled in, not just the outline of the tattoo. We will be comparing:

  1. Cost per treatment (when purchased in a series, i.e. the total cost of removing your tattoo). Cost per treatment multiplied by the number of treatments.
  2. Total number of weeks it takes to remove your tattoo – Recommended recovery time or wait time between tattoo removal sessions multiplied by the number of sessions.      



 These figures were accurate at time of publishing this article.


There you have the calculations. The cost of the result with PicoWay is $112 less and you save 58 weeks (more than a year faster!) with significantly less discomfort than the painful option of a Nanosecond laser.

At Eden Tattoo Removal, we guarantee that the most you will ever pay for is 10 sessions. We also have a price match policy and payment plans available.



What you will also need to consider is that your tattoo may not be totally removed after your 15 sessions with a Nanosecond laser. At Eden Tattoo Removal we regularly have people come to us because their tattoo has not been completely removed and they require PicoWay removal sessions.

The cost difference between Picosecond tattoo removal (PicoWay Laser) vs older style, nanosecond lasers has always been a talking point and for the majority of people, it is assumed that Picosecond tattoo removal is wildly more expensive, however this is not true as we have just shown above. The reason it has been a talking point is because tattoo removal providers advertise in single removal session prices, or sell in lots of 4, giving the assumption that your tattoo will be removed in 4 sessions. As you can see above, this is not the case.

Cost should be just one factor when comparing laser tattoo removal providers. Think of the cost and time wasted for all those additional sessions, as well as getting to and from the clinic.

Pain is also another major difference between the PicoWay and a Nanosecond device.

One enquiry we received said:


“I have had [NanoSecond] tattoo removal 3 times already but the pain was so intense that I couldn’t go on as I started to feel unwell wanting to vomit and passing out I have been reading about this PicoWay how is the pain associated with that?”


Because the PicoWay generates mainly photo-acoustic energy, it does not have the pain associated with other devices that produce mainly photo-thermal (heat). For someone like the above enquiry, this may only be believed once they come in for a free consultation and can have a test patch done to see how it feels.        


Eden tattoo removal consumer warningAn important distinction to make when it comes to pricing is that there are operators in Sydney offering $80 per session for tattoo removal. One of the big problems within the tattoo removal industry is the lack of regulation. There is nothing stopping a clinic buying a cheap $6,000 tattoo removal device from China and starting to use it, vs a PicoWay that costs over $300,000 and is FDA approved.

Read Consumer warning article on IPL and acid injections.



When comparing providers for laser tattoo removal, you should be considering all of the following:

  • Result cost, not the cost per session
  • Total amount of time to remove your tattoo (you can ask for a guarantee)
  • Pain
  • Type of laser and experience of clinician



Sydney laser tattoo removal client sequence


Give us a call on 02 8020 5819 or click on one of the buttons below to ask a question or book a free consultation online now.