Get the Ink Out

Laser surgeons are improving tattoo removal outcomes by combining tools and developing new treatment regimens.
Laser Tattoo Removal

"You can effectively remove tattoos with today’s lasers, but it’s a balancing act,” says Jafar Koupaie, MD, Boston Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery Center in Canton, Massachussetts. “Until 1976, nobody knew why color disappeared when tattoos were treated. I was involved in a study at Boston University that discovered that the process of irritating the skin stimulated an immune response that brought macrophages to the wound site, which swallowed the bits of pigment and carried them away little by little. That’s why it is more difficult to remove tattoos on parts of the body with less circulation or in individuals with impaired immune function. The challenge is finding the best way to irritate the skin and stimulate this response without causing scarring or pigment changes. We are still looking for the best solution.”

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