Photos courtesy of: Arie Orenstien, MD
Tattoos are created by injecting colored pigment into small deep holes made in the skin. Regardless of whether a tattoo artist or an untrained individual injects the pigment, the marks or designs are relatively permanent. The high power Q-Switched Nd:YAG 1064 nm laser is ideal for treating darker ink colors (black, blue and green), while the 532 nm wavelength is effective for brighter ink colors (red, orange and yellow). The mechanical Q-Switched effect works by vibrating and breaking down the ink particles in the tattoo. As the area heals, the body’s immune system flushes away the shattered ink particles, causing the tattoo to fade with minimal risk of scarring or hypopigmentation.
During treatment, pulses of light from the laser are directed onto the tattoo, breaking up the tattoo pigment. Over the next several weeks the body's macrophages remove the treated pigmented areas. With the Q-switched Nd:YAG laser available on the Harmony®XL Pro laser system, you can effectively treat dark tattoo inks, specifically black (which accounts for more than half of all tattoos), blue and green. Patients should expect to come back for several treatments to achieve expected results.
Tattoo ink and natural pigmentation like melanin absorb short pulse duration/high peak energy Q-switched pulses so quickly that they create a photo-acoustic effect within the pigment clusters. This effect breaks down the ink into much smaller particles that can be more easily removed by the body's natural filtering system.