Tattoo Removal Q A

Serving Altoona, State College, Johnstown, DuBois and Nearby Areas of Pennsylvania

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How are tattoos removed?

Blair Plastic Surgery uses Lutronic's Spectra; a Q-switched laser that is both effective and safe for the removal of dark and reddish colors.  Earlier removal methods involved the use of dermabrasion, salibrasion (salt scrub), surgery and CO2 lasers, but these methods left behind scarring or lighter skin in place of the tattoo. Also commonly seen on the internet are tattoo removal creams—which do not work.

Lutronic's Spectra

Is the Spectra available at all Blair Plastic Surgery offices?

No. Unfortunately, the Spectra is available only at our State College location.

Do I need a consultation?

Yes, a consultation is required before any laser treatment, and usually takes less than 30 minutes. It involves taking a health history, evaluating the tattoo, explaining the procedure, reviewing risks and benefits, discussing options, answering questions, and establishing the price per treatment. Client must be at least 18 years of age and have photo identification. No children are allowed to be present during treatment or consultations.

The tattoo removal consultation is complimentary. 

How much will it cost?

Cost per laser treatment to tattoos less than 4” X 4” is $250. Tattoos larger than this but less than 8” X 8” in size cost $400 per treatment. Larger-sized tattoos will be quoted on an individual basis at your consultation.

 Payment is by cash, check, debit or credit cards.

Is the process painful?

The laser emits light in very short flashes called pulses. Many people describe the pulse as being like the snap of a rubber band. Blair Plastic Surgery uses the Zimmer Cryo cooling system to numb the skin and reduce any discomfort.

Will I have a scar?

The chance of scarring is low, if you follow the aftercare instructions. The risk of scarring can increase for pregnancy, dark skin tone, poor circulation, immune system deficiencies, taking Accutane (isotretinoin) or certain other medications, some health conditions, or having a history of keloids or elevated scarring. We will discuss your individual risk for scarring during your consultation.

How many treatments will it take to remove my tattoo?

Each person is as unique as their tattoo, so between your body and your tattoo there are significant variables that will affect the number of treatments necessary. Most professional tattoos take 6 to 10 treatments. Homemade tattoos take 3 to 5 treatments. Laser sessions are spaced out 6 to 8 weeks apart, allowing the body’s immune system to naturally remove the pigment fragments. The number of treatments depends on the amount of ink used, type of ink, depth of ink placed in skin, location, age, colors, and each person’s individual health considerations.  Older tattoos are easier to remove than newer tattoos.

Will the tattoo completely disappear?

In many cases, yes. However, it is very important to know that over 100 types of tattoo inks are used today and none of them are regulated by the FDA. Without standardized inks it makes it difficult to predict the degree of removal of any tattoo.

Do all colors of ink disappear equally as well?

No. Black ink is typically removed very well. Red, orange, pink, and warmer colors also respond well. Purple and yellow are variable.  Removal of green and teal blue ink can be difficult and incomplete. White, flesh tones, and permanent make-up can turn darker with laser, and are not treated at our facility.

What type of aftercare is necessary?

A healing anti-bacterial ointment and a bandage will be applied to the area. The treated site should be kept clean and dry that day, and out of the sun during the healing process. If a scab forms, it is vital that the area is never picked or scratched in order to avoid scarring.  A shower can be taken the next day, and the site should not be scrubbed.  We also recommend drinking a lot of water following your treatment in order to facilitate your body's own ability to flush out the pigment.

Why should I choose Blair Plastic Surgery for my laser treatment?

Many practices offer laser treatments, but it is important to remember that a laser is only a tool and depends on the training, skill, and experience of the operator to achieve optimal results. At Blair Plastic Surgery, we have been performing laser treatments since 1990, designing custom laser solutions for a wide variety of conditions and problems. Unlike spas or other cosmetic practices, you know that your laser tattoo removal treatment will be performed by a licensed physician who has over 12 years of experience in the use of the lasers and other light technologies.

To learn more about laser tattoo removal, or other laser treatment procedures like laser skin resurfacing or laser hair removal, please contact us today to schedule a consultation.