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Tattoo Removal in Washington, DC

Before and After Gallery *

Tired of that old tattoo? We can help!

We are the leading provider of tattoo removal services in the Washington, DC area, with over 20 years of experience in the removal of decorative, cosmetic, and traumatic tattoos. Many of the laser technologies and protocols in use for laser tattoo removal were researched, developed, and perfected here at our Center, and we have successfully removed over 20,000 tattoos since introducing this procedure. Our multiple tattoo-specific laser systems, coupled with our unmatched experience in laser tattoo removal allows us to be the trusted leader in tattoo removal.

For a preliminary estimate for treatment cost please email a clear color photo of tattoo and approximate dimensions to info@lasersurgery.com.  New patients receive 50% off their first treatment* and all consultations are complimentary. (*excludes eyeliner tattoo removal)

Why Choose the Center for Laser Surgery?

The Center for Laser Surgery has over 25 years of experience in the laser removal of tattoos and was one of the first facilities in the country to use lasers for tattoo removal. We are the only facility in the Baltimore-Washington area to offer the PicoCare Picosecond Nd:YAG laser, Medlite C6 Q-Switched Nd-YAG, and Astanza Eternity Q-Switch Ruby lasers to remove tattoos. Each of these lasers emits a specific wavelength of light which targets specific tattoo colors for removal. Our use of multiple specific-wavelength tattoo removal lasers greatly increases our success in the treatment of complex multi-colored tattoos with far fewer treatments than weaker ‘all in one’ tattoo lasers utilized at med-spas and ‘retail’ tattoo removal operations. We also offer a combination Erbium Laser / Q-Switch Laser treatment for tattoos which are unresponsive to traditional laser treatment. This alternative treatment is highly effective in removal of tattoos resistant to traditional laser treatment.

How Much Does Laser Tattoo Removal Cost?

Fees for tattoo removal are per treatment and determined by size, color and complexity of each unique tattoo. We do offer a discount for prepayment of 4 or more treatments. During your complimentary initial consultation your tattoo will be examined and a price per treatment and estimated number of treatments required will be provided. It is important to note that many tattoo removal centers use less expensive and less powerful ‘all-in-one’ laser systems which in many cases require twice as many treatments than would be required using the more powerful laser systems available at our center. We often treat patients who have finished their ‘packages’ at other centers with only slight fading of a tattoo requiring additional treatments for complete removal. Please note that due to differences in ink density, depth, and location of tattoos on the body, it is impossibly to give a 100% accurate estimate of the number of treatments required for tattoo removal.

The History of Decorative Tattooing

Decorative tattooing in humans is an ancient art form the origins of which can be traced as far back as the stone and bronze ages. A study conducted in 1991 found that between 9-11% of adult men in the United States have tattoos however greater than 50% regret having them and would seek removal if possible. Unfortunately, at the present time, tattooing remains popular with role models such as athletes and entertainers, serving as strong impetus for teenagers and young adults to seek tattoos.

Previous Methods of Tattoo Removal

Unfortunately, tattoo removal using most non-laser methods has significant disadvantages such as incomplete pigment removal, non-selective tissue destruction and unsatisfactory cosmetic results such as atrophic or hypertrophic scarring. Older methods of tattoo removal have involved the application of caustic chemicals such as Phenol Sulphuric acid. All of these methods are associated with a high incidence of scarring and pigmentation disturbances and are no longer used.

Slightly more refined methods of tattoo removal have included abrasion with salt (salabrasion), cryosurgery, dermabrasion, electrocoagulation, and the use of an infrared coagulator. All of these procedures are associated with significant scarring and in most instances the result of tattoo removal looks much worse than the tattoo itself. Conventional surgical methods have been used to treat tattoos, however their use is limited to the removal of small tattoos. Surgical removal of large tattoos usually yields disastrous results and therefore has been abandoned.

Lasers for Tattoo Removal

The use of lasers to remove tattoos began in the early ’90s with the first report of successful tattoo removal using Q-Switched Ruby lasers. Q-switch lasers emit very fast bursts of energy (billions of a second). Ruby lasers are still quite useful for green and blue tattoo removal, however, they must be used carefully in dark skin type individuals since coincident melanin absorption at 694nm can be associated with prolonged but most often temporary loss of pigment in treatment areas.

In 1991 the Q-Switched ‘Nanosecond’ Neodymium-YAG laser was introduced for tattoo removal. This laser, with a longer wavelength (1064nm) allows deeper penetration and at the same time exhibits less melanin absorption and allows for laser tattoo removal in darker skin types. This laser is very effective in removing black ink seen in amateur and professional tattoos as well as black ink used in cosmetic eyeliner tattoos. The addition of a frequency doubling crystal to this laser provides laser output at 532nm, or green light, which also aided the removal of tattoos containing red and orange ink.

More recently, Picosecond lasers have been developed. It was thought that these lasers would revolutionize tattoo removal. In reality, these lasers marginally reduced the number of required treatments by 10-20%, and due to the cost of the technology and maintenance, per treatment costs were 2-3 higher than with q-switch lasers. In addition, there are many underpowered and even some ‘fake’ picosecond laser platforms that are no better and often worse than existing q-switch laser systems. We offer the PicoCare Picosecond Nd:Yag laser, which is the most powerful true picosecond laser (450ps) available on the market today, for patients who either prefer picosecond laser removal and/or have had several q-switch nanosecond treatment sessions and are no longer responding to treatment. Thanks to a strategic relationship with the manufacturer, we are also able to offer PicoCare Picosecond laser tattoo treatments close to or at the same prices as q-switch treatment.

At the present time the Q-Switch Nd:YAG and PicoSecond Nd:YAG laser are the workhorses of tattoo removal. Certain ink colors, such as green and blue, require Ruby lasers for effective removal. At the present time, the Center for Laser Surgery offers all currently available tattoo treatment modalities on site including PicoSecond Nd:YAG lasers, Q-Switched Ruby, and Q-Switched Nd:YAG. The availability of all tattoo removal laser systems greatly increases our success in the treatment of complex multi-colored tattoos as well as treatment resistant tattoos.

Other uses for tattoo lasers are removal of traumatic tattooing resulting from mechanical penetration of foreign particles into the body. These tattoos are most likely associated with falls or “road rash” and can be easily eliminated by treatment using tattoo removal lasers. In addition, unwanted or misplaced cosmetic tattoos such as eyeliner and lip liner tattoos can be removed by means of Q-Switched or Picosecond lasers. In summary, lasers available at the Center for Laser Surgery provide an excellent means of tattoo removal with little or no scarring. These lasers offer significant advantages over previous methods for tattoo removals and are presently the treatment of choice and standard of care for tattoo removal.

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*Results may vary for each patient.