INTRODUCTION: Both dermabrasion and surgery have been used in the practice of tattoo removal. Currently, laser is also being used. The aim of this study is to evaluate tattoo removal with Q-switched Nd:YAG laser.
METHOD: This is a retrospective study on patients treated by using Q-switched Nd:YAG laser. The data were collected from medical records and patient photographs, and through phone or e-mail contact. Statistical tests were done through the analysis of distribution, multivariate regression, and logistic regression.
RESULTS: A total of 304 patients with an average age of 29.8 years (±7.86 years) were assessed. Of the total, 297 (97.69%) were classified as white (phototypes I, II, and III), 270 (88.81%) of whom had professional tattoos done. The oldest tattoo was 360 months old and the most recent was 1 month old, with an average of 64.56 months (±63.54 months). The tattoo size was, on average, 12.92 cm, with black being the predominant color (i.e., present in 291 [86.51%] tattoos). The average number of sessions per patient was 3.77 (±2.99), and the interval between sessions was 49.23 days. The therapist observed that 52.96% of the tattoos were partially removed, 21.38% were not removed, 86.51% showed normal healing, 8.55% developed a hypertrophic scar, and 3.29% developed a keloid. Of the 304 patients, 81 (26.64%) reported being satisfied and 179 (58.88%) reported being partially satisfied with the outcome. Hypochromia was present in 102 (33.55%) patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Q-switched Nd:YAG laser is a safe and effective method for tattoo removal that results in a good degree of patient satisfaction and few undesirable effects.
Keywords: Lasers; Tattoo; Nd:YAG Lasers; Scar.