Tattoos are injections of coloured ink into the skin for decorative purposes. People get tattoos for a variety of social, traditional and cultural reasons. At times the reasons for having a tattoo change and it is desired to have it removed. Traditionally direct excision and dermabrasion has been used. Not all tattoos can be removed by direct excision and dermabrasion often leaves a pale area. Laser therapy can target the pigment in skin (blue, green, red). The pigment absorbs the thermal injury and then undergoes destruction and the tattoo begins to break apart and fade. Large tattoos will need multiple treatments.
At Artiste Plastic Surgery the following procedures are used to aid in the removal of unwanted tattoos.
Direct Excision is suitable for small tattoos or letters/sections of a tattoo. Through a simple surgical ellipse of skin the unwanted tattoo is excised and wound sutured closed in a fine straight line.
Serial Excision is multiple direct excisions of the tattoo over a period of 3 months in 6 weekly intervals. Part of the tattoo is excised each session enabling the skin to recover from each excision and over the period of 3 months or more a larger tattoo is able to be excised with a resulting straight line scar.
Tissue Expansion is a two stage reconstructive procedure.
The first stage involves the placement of a silicone shaped expander implant parallel to the tattoo in normal skin. Once the wound is healed a series of saline injections in the rooms, are made into the implant through a injection port. The idea is that the implant expands and stretches the skin. This new stretched skin is now available for coverage of the unwanted tattoo
The second stage involves removal of the tattoo through direct excision coverage with the expanded skin from the implant once it is removed.