Slartibartfast

laser tattoo removal progress

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Thought I would add my experience as I go along. I am seeing a dr in the area in which I live. Went in for my consult and first session.   I will try to keep up progress pictures. 

 

These are the before images

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These are a couple hours after. In addition to redness and swelling I can see areas, that were filled in with the shader, that are immediately showing lightening.  I figure the outline will take the longest and is the biggest gamble in how well this goes. 

 

I’ve looked at a lot of pictures online and am still trying to stay realistic about what can be achieved. I realize I made the choice to get this tattoo. I think the artist did a good enough job although I wish we would have spent more time on getting placement and the line even. I’m attempting to get it removed as I have never felt good about how it looks. When people see it, they generally act in a way that confirms my bad feelings about it. By either not saying anything or clearly avoiding any comment on how they think it looks. I realize other people’s opinions don’t matter if I like it but I don’t like it AND this nagging issue is confirmed by their response. Being an educator, I’m hoping I can again wear the top button, unbuttoned while at work. 

 

The tattoo is pretty new, got it in October of 2017, and being that it is so big and bold I think I’m right to be concerned about how this removal will turn out.  Unless I end up doing a coverup (which would mean top button for 25 more years), I realize this will likely be a long, painful and expensive ordeal.

 

Stay tuned

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Sorry that you have to go thru all that.  It'll be really interesting to see how it progresses and a good example for others considering the same.  Thanks for sharing.

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14 hours ago, JAC1961 said:

Sorry that you have to go thru all that.  It'll be really interesting to see how it progresses and a good example for others considering the same.  Thanks for sharing.

Thank you John,

 

I'm certainly not thrilled either.  One the one hand I feel a bit ridiculous spending so much money, going through so much pain for such a long time on something I did to myself knowing it was permanent.  On the other hand, if it works, it certainly is not getting off easy.  

Day one after first treatment: 

Neck sore but not nearly as bad as yesterday.  I'm able to wear one of my looser fit dress shirts, tie and top button fastened.  I don't know if this is helping but I cut off the short sleeve from a T-shirt and stretched it enough to get it over my head and on my neck.  The constant contact prevents my dress shirt from rubbing or scraping.  

From a progress standpoint, I am surprised just how much faded in certain areas while others appear to have no change (other than red and swollen).  I'm sure this is due to depth and saturation of ink.  

 

I'll update when there is news.

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Yeah, the laser application process isn't precisely uniform - so the results are going to vary by degrees. It'll also take a month or more before you see what the real progress is in any area. There will be further fading from each session even 3-4 months down the road. 

For what it's worth, I think the tattooist did a great job with application, line-up, etc. I don't know the impact of the particular message or local culture where you are, buit educators here in the States (or most of them) don't have to worry about minor ink showing . . . 

Temporary make-up wasn't an option?

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On 4/12/2019 at 11:52 AM, SStu said:

Yeah, the laser application process isn't precisely uniform - so the results are going to vary by degrees. It'll also take a month or more before you see what the real progress is in any area. There will be further fading from each session even 3-4 months down the road. 

For what it's worth, I think the tattooist did a great job with application, line-up, etc. I don't know the impact of the particular message or local culture where you are, buit educators here in the States (or most of them) don't have to worry about minor ink showing . . . 

Temporary make-up wasn't an option?

Yeah. I hear ya man. There were some fairly large parts that blew out. I understand the neck is a tricky spot. I take full responsibility for my displeasure with this one and am paying for it in heaps of cash, time and pain. And rightly so I suppose. It’s a flippin tattoo. Meant to be permanent. So the fact I even have the possibility of fixing this giant mistake should keep my complaining to a reasonable, endless and internal monologue l.  

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On 4/12/2019 at 11:52 AM, SStu said:

Yeah, the laser application process isn't precisely uniform - so the results are going to vary by degrees. It'll also take a month or more before you see what the real progress is in any area. There will be further fading from each session even 3-4 months down the road. 

For what it's worth, I think the tattooist did a great job with application, line-up, etc. I don't know the impact of the particular message or local culture where you are, buit educators here in the States (or most of them) don't have to worry about minor ink showing . . . 

Temporary make-up wasn't an option?

Yeah. I hear ya man. There were some fairly large parts that blew out. I understand the neck is a tricky spot. I take full responsibility for my displeasure with this one and am paying for it in heaps of cash, time and pain. And rightly so I suppose. It’s a flippin tattoo. Meant to be permanent. So the fact I even have the possibility of fixing this giant mistake should keep my complaining to a reasonable, endless and internal monologue l.  

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The pictures above are just an update. 4 days since first session. I’m simultaneously encouraged and discouraged by the progress. I see a few spots with really significant lightening others that look no different. I heard the first few sessions might not yield much. 

 

I’ll post when there is news. 

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PICO or Q-Switched laser? I had a small black tattoo lasered a few years ago. It didn't respond well at all. I did six sessions over the course of a year with a Q-Switched laser which was the only type available in my area. After six sessions, it was finally light enough for up for a coverup. Good luck!  I know the neck must suck...good luck!

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The neck is definitely no joke!!  I’m getting this done with a cutera enlighten pico laser. I’m noticing the horrible blurry and patchy progress that says “no turning back now!”  

Full week since I had the first session.  Neck is now just sensitive and a little itchy.   I believe I’ve read conflicting information on pain increase vs decrease with consecutive sessions but I’ll post how it goes  

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Well, today is my second session. I was so nervous about it that my hands were sweating and heart rate rising just making the appointment. The first session my doctor recommended I use nitrous. He explained this would not lessen pain but would decrease my relationship with the pain and make the procedure better for me. I went along with the recommendation and plan on doing this session without. I really didn’t like the other effects of using nitrous. Teenage me probably would have been thrilled but 14 years sober me prefers not experiencing intoxication whenever possible.  So I’m lathering up a numbing cream (aspercreme) and hoping I can get through this without any gas. 

 

Here are before pictures, taken today, approximately six weeks from the first session.  

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those picture are 6 weeks post 1st laser session!?

Hardly seems to have touched it. 

I can't imagine any doctor in the U.S. prescribing Nitrous as a pain killer, lol. 

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Ok. Second session done. No gas this time, only used numbing cream. I would say it hurt just as bad but was bearable. I know the settings were more intense this time because an hour later and it is swelling up and red all over whereas the first time only had minimal swelling and redness faded rather quickly. 

 

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1 hour ago, SStu said:

those picture are 6 weeks post 1st laser session!?

Hardly seems to have touched it. 

I can't imagine any doctor in the U.S. prescribing Nitrous as a pain killer, lol. 

Yeah, I was cautioned that it might not show much results the first couple sessions while frequency is getting dialed. This is also a newer tattoo I got a year and a half ago. 

 

Nitrous was only administered during the procedure and I saw online this is a pain management option for some laser places. I elected to skip it this time and found it easier to deal with the pain with a clear head.  I don’t typically read people going on about the pain part and don’t know if I just have lower tolerance or if it’s because of the location but I’ve found this to be more painful than expected and a different pain lasts well past the procedure. 

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50 minutes ago, gtrjunior said:

Do the tattoo removal people feel as if the treatments can/will completely remove the tattoo?

Yes. The question is how many sessions it will take. apparently there is fine tuning that takes place also, if my artist mixed the black with blue, or with any other colors I understand that could have an impact.  

My Dr said the main factor is my immune system and how healthy it is. A healthy immune system will clear away the pieces quicker. I think I have a healthy immune system. Also, higher blood flow areas fade quicker too. So I’ve got that going for me. 

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On 5/31/2019 at 6:40 PM, Phoebe said:

I just heard about it last week!  Seems you do the audio blast along with laser and multiple passes of laser in one session. Makes me wonder if I’d be able to take it as I can’t even imagine what going for a second and third pass would be like.

I would definitely like to try though, the results looked unreal. Like completely gone after two or three sessions.  

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1 hour ago, Slartibartfast said:

I just heard about it last week!  Seems you do the audio blast along with laser and multiple passes of laser in one session. Makes me wonder if I’d be able to take it as I can’t even imagine what going for a second and third pass would be like.

I would definitely like to try though, the results looked unreal. Like completely gone after two or three sessions.  

An article written by a reporter taking information from the company who makes the machine. No independent reporting, no fact checking. This is the kind of lazy, sloppy, excuse-for-journalism that is the standard these days.

I wouldn't believe a word in that article.

As far as FDA approval, all they are approving is that the device doesn't kill you. And I'm sure you can buy FDA approval pretty cheap.

 

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Posted (edited)

you sound skeptical lol

 

"

An article written by a reporter taking information from the company who makes the machine. No independent reporting, no fact checking. This is the kind of lazy, sloppy, excuse-for-journalism that is the standard these days.

I wouldn't believe a word in that article.

As far as FDA approval, all they are approving is that the device doesn't kill you. And I'm sure you can buy FDA approval pretty cheap."

Edited by Phoebe

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Hi @HollyJoy I just happened to check in to the forum today for the first time since my last post.  Good timing with your post.

Regarding updates, I continue to see progress since my second session, which occurred nearly 14 weeks ago.  I read somewhere that from an economical standpoint, it may be better to space out your sessions at least 12 weeks apart.  This makes sense to me as there are still ink droplets being removed by your immune system and the more that is removed, the higher the contrast between what remains and what no longer remains, thus having potentially greater effectiveness on the remaining tattoo.  

I am trying to bring myself to schedule my next session.  

 

I would like to make a comment in a general way about how I view removal at this point.  Essentially, I am pleased that this is a technology that is available.  I will continue to stick with it until my tattoo is lightened enough to go over or completely removed (yet to be determined if that is even possible).  I am hopeful that the new "RAP" technology will do all that is promised in terms of reducing sessions and price of tattoo removal. 

*With everything above being said, I am not sure this was all worth it. 

1)The pain is significant and recovery time negatively impacts my ability to live my life the way I would like to, active, gym, mountainbiking, playing with my kids, swimming, or even wearing a tie to work. 

2)The cost is truly upsetting considering that each session is in excess of the price I paid for the tattoo in the first place. 

3)The amount of time this process will take, amount of weeks of recovery essentially will make it about a year and a half of trauma, recovery of two weeks, three to five weeks of feeling better - to normal, then blasting myself with a laser again, repeating the process about 10 times.  

4)The results are still uncertain.  In order to get to a point where I can tell how my body and the tattoo is responding to the treatment, we have to dial in settings and undergo enough sessions that there is no turning back.  

4.b) I've seen results online and nearly always I think (that tattoo didn't look so bad before but certainly looks like a horrible smudgy mess now) and I wonder if that will be me in half a year.  Then what?  Half a year of a giant smudgy mess on my neck.  

I can't write any of this without cringing at how, spoiled this all sounds.  I got a F'ing tattoo on my neck.  I got what I paid for and deserve what comes with it.  I love tattoos.  well, good tattoos.  Part of what makes tattoos special, unique, powerful is not just the difficulties endured to get it, both in pain and money, but that it IS permanent.  Most of its "edgyness" comes from this defining attribute that sets it apart from just drawing on myself with washable markers.  The fact it can be undone or potentially erased, takes some of the weight out of tattoos, waters down their significance and thus dilutes their power to some extent in my mind.  And yet, laser technology means I can try to amend an impulsive decision I made that I know regret.  And that last statement sums up why I'm doing this, against the 1-4b I listed above.  I have regretted this tattoo pretty soon after I got it.  having it affects my wardrobe choices every day and doubly so at work, and the mere possibility that I could get it removed was never far from my mind once I admitted to myself I was unhappy with it.  

I plan to call for an appointment for my 3rd session tomorrow.  Once it is confirmed, I will post some pre-session pictures to compare progress since the last, and then post more photos after this next session.  

 

I hope this long post is helpful to all who read it.  I realize I made some "philosophical" statements that I certainly don't think are true for everyone but accurately depict how I see things right now.

 

Sincerely,

 

Slarti

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