Picosecond Laser Technology Enhances Tattoo Removal
Laser Tissue Interaction in the Picosecond Epoch
At the recent Annual Summit in Aesthetic Medicine, Dr. Emil Tanghetti gave an update on the advances in laser tattoo removal. New lasers with much shorter pulse durations have led to improved tattoo particle fracturing, resulting in fewer required treatments and improved patient satisfaction. This enhanced outcome is the result of delivering the same or a lesser amount of energy in a significantly shorter time. A picosecond alexandrite laser has a pulse duration 70-100 times shorter than a Q-switched alexandrite laser and causes a degree of mechanical fracturing of these tattoo particles which is unachievable with the traditional nanosecond lasers.
While both nano and picosecond lasers can effectively remove black and dark blue tattoos, the picosecond devices are particularly effective for the green and light blue pigments that were notoriously difficult to remove previously. When patients presented with multicolored tattoos in the past, the treating physicians used to give a very guarded prognosis for complete removal, and often with the advice that it might take 10-20 treatments. Now these ‘untreatable’ tattoos are much more amenable to therapy. Whereas these new devices have brought in a new era of improved efficacy, the future is still brighter given that novel research into shorter pulsed ‘femtosecond’ lasers is underway.
This information was presented at the 5th Annual Summit in Aesthetic Medicine
Written and edited for ZALEA by Dr Brandon Coakley and Dr Christopher B. Zachary