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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  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 20 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, Q-switched Alexandrite, 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.

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. Ruby lasers are still quite useful for 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 Neodymium-YAG laser was introduced for tattoo removal. Theoretically, this laser with a longer wavelength (1064nm) would allow deeper penetration and at the same time exhibit less melanin absorption. Early studies using this laser showed that it was very effective in removing dark blue-black ink seen in amateur and professional tattoos and especially useful in removing dark ink from cosmetic eyeliner tattoos. The addition of a frequency doubling crystal to this laser, provided laser output at 532nm or green light, which also aided the removal of tattoos containing red and orange ink.

At the present time the Q-Switch YAG laser is the workhorse of tattoo removal. Unfortunately, certain ink colors, most often, green do not respond to this laser, necessitating the use of Ruby or Alexandrite lasers for complete removal. In 1992, a Q-Switched Alexandrite laser was introduced operating at a wavelength of 755nm. The Alexandrite crystal emits energy that is longer than the Ruby at 694nm and significantly shorter than the ND-YAG laser at 1064nm. Excellent results have been obtained in the treatment of blue-black and green tattoos using this laser. At the present time, the Center for Laser Surgery offers all currently available tattoo treatment modalities on site including Q-Switched Ruby, Q-Switched Alexandrite, Q-Switched Nd:YAG, and PicoSecond Nd:YAG lasers. The availability of all four lasers 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.