Exeter Medical’s Director and Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeon, Christopher Stone, provides an informative summary and step-by-step guide for those seeking tattoo removal at Exeter Medical.
“What makes Exeter Medical unique is the opportunity for a multi-disciplinary assessment of the tattoo. Combining dermatological and surgical expertise, alongside an experienced laser practioner in Hayley Mack, the patient is given a reliable opinion upon which treatment would best suit them.”
Christopher Stone, speaking about the consultation process for tattoo removal at Exeter Medical, informs us that within his role he has noticed an upward trend in those seeking treatment. This is perhaps unsurprising given that current estimates suggest one in five of the UK population are sporting tattoos. However, for those who in hindsight regret their decision, there are treatments available to them.
“The first step for prospective clients would be to organise a free consultation with our laser specialist, or alternatively send in a digital photograph for assessment. Based on the individual tattoo, this process enables us to determine which treatment would be the most appropriate.”
Procedurally tattoo removal can be performed either by laser or ‘serial excision’ (small skin surgeries over time to limit scarring); this depends upon the size, location and colour of the patient’s tattoo.
Predominantly, laser treatments are suitable to tattoos comprised of black and red ink; and for those containing blue and green ink, serial excision is recommended to avoid the effects of ‘ghosting’.
Mr Stone confirms:
“If laser treatment is deemed suitable, patients are subject to a preliminary ‘patch test’ to determine the best laser to use according to their skin type. Following this, each laser treatment will take approximately 30 minutes, with a short downtime of three to four days at most.”
The number of laser treatments required may vary depending on several factors including the depth of ink penetration, age of the tattoo and colour intensity. Generally, five to six treatments are necessary, although results can be seen after one or two.
“For many however, serial excision could be a more time and cost-effective means of removing a tattoo; particularly if it is small in which case the tattoo can be removed by an operation under local anaesthetic lasting up to 45 minutes. Depending upon the size of the tattoo, multiple operations may be necessary. To prevent stretching, it is necessary to keep the scar taped throughout the subsequent four-week period.”
It remains important for those seeking tattoo removal treatments to have realistic expectations for the procedural outcome:
“Scar quality can never be guaranteed. Nevertheless, we strive to optimise the outcome, advising patients on measures such as moisturising and taping to improve the quality and appearance of the final scar.”