Sep 2, 2015

Picosecond Laser Technology Enhances Tattoo Removal

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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

The
Editorial Voice
Mark B. Taylor, M.D. for the Editorial Voice - ZALEA Mark B. Taylor, M.D.

Picosecond laser technology is an exciting new area for the treatment of tattoos, unwanted pigment, some birthmarks and for skin rejuvenation.  The 755nm picosecond  technology was the first to be marketed.  Now additional lasers with 1064nm and 532nm and picosecond technology have become available to help with other colors of tattoo ink including yellow which responds well to a 532nm picosecond laser.  In the past yellow has been a very difficult tattoo ink to remove with any laser. Picosecond  treatments typically have much less tissue reaction and healing time than current nanosecond lasers.  Picosecond technology adds another option for the treatment of tattoos and unwanted pigment. Cost is very high for this new technology and hopefully will come down as these devices are perfected and additional competition enters the marketplace.

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