This is for small tatoos. With larger tattoos, it may be necessary to excise in stages, removing the center of it initially and the sides at a later date.

Excision involves an injection of a local anesthetic to numb the area after which the tattoo is removed surgically. The edges are then brought together and sutured. There is minimal bleeding which is easily controlled with electrocautery. With large tattoos, a skin graft, taken from another part of the body may be necessary.


A small portion of the tattoo is sprayed with a solution that freezes the area. The tattoo is then "sanded" with a rotary abrasive instrument causing the skin to peel. Because some bleeding is likely to occur, a dressing is immediately applied to the area.


The Q-switched Nd:Yag, Q-switched Alexandrite and the Q-switched Ruby lasers are frequently used. A cream to numb the skin can be applied prior to the treatment. Pulses of light from the laser are directed onto the tattoo breaking up the tattoo pigment. Over the next few weeks, the bodys scavenger cells will remove the treated pigmented areas. More than 1 treatment is usually necessary.


is a procedure that is centuries old. A local anesthetic is used on and around the tattooed area after which a solution of ordinary tap water dipped in table salt is applied. An abrading apparatus such as the 1 used with dermabrasion or an even simpler device such as a wooden block wrapped in gauze, is used to vigorously abrade the area. When the area becomes deep red in color, a dressing is applied.

What Results Can Be Expected?

In most cases some scarring or color variations remain. The conspiciousness of these blemishes depends upon the size, location, the individuals healing process, how the tattoo was applied, length of time it has been on the skin. A tattoo performed by a more experienced tattoo artist, may be easier to remove since the pigment is evenly injected in the same level of the skin.

This page has been updated on the 2017-12-18.