The Q-switched Nd:YAG laser is used for the removal of tattoos and pigmented lesions. It provides a safe, effective way to remove most tattoo inks with very low risk of scarring. The Nd:YAG can remove professional, amateur, traumatic and surgical tattoos. Professional tattoos require an average of 6-8 treatments and some may never clear completely. Amateur tattoos often clear much faster due to less layering of the ink. Treatments are typically spaced 6-8 weeks apart. The number of treatments needed depends on the color, type and amount of ink used. Dark blue, black, and red inks are easiest to remove. Orange and purple tattoos usually fade as well. Green and yellow dyes are the most difficult to remove requiring additional treatments to produce significant fading. Topical numbing creams may be used; however, most patients do not require it.
The tattoo ink, when hit by the laser light, breaks it into small pieces that can then be removed through the body’s natural filtering systems. The Nd:YAG provides maximum tattoo removal while leaving the surrounding skin unharmed.
The Nd:YAG can remove most brown spots caused by sun as well as freckles and brown birthmarks, such as café-au-lait spots and nevus of Ota (which occurs around the eyes). Most pigmented lesions disappear with one or two treatments. After treatment, the lesions darken and flake off. Facial lesions usually resolve within 5-10 days, while those on the extremities or trunk may take 2 ½ to 3 weeks.