Surgical ExcisionBy Pete On March 19, 2012 Under Posts
Tattoo excision is the surgical removal of a tattoo by a qualified surgeon. This is the most effective way to completely remove an unwanted tattoo. This method, while invasive, is most suitable for smaller tattoos which can be removed in one session. It is also the method of choice for people whose tattoos are too deeply embedded to be removed effectively any other way. Deeply embedded tattoos can be amateur tattoos or just old tattoos where the ink pigment has sunk into the lower dermis.
After a consultation with your surgeon the procedure works like this. First the area of the tattoo to be removed is shaved and cleaned. Local anesthetics are given. This numbs that area only. You will be awake for the procedure so if you don’t like blood, especially your own, you will definitely want to look away. Actually, bleeding is reportedly very light as blood vessels are cauterized during the procedure. For a small tattoo, a “full thickness removal” occurs, which consists of removing the epidermis and the dermis. The skin on either side is then stretched to close over the wound and held together with sutures. You are given antibiotics and are usually out the door in one hour. Stitches are normally removed in a week to ten days.
For larger tattoos it is far more complicated. The center of the tattoo is removed first and the wound allowed to heal. Several visits and operations may be necessary with skin grafts – taking skin from another area of your body – being necessary to close the wound. The pain, expense and risk of infection are obviously higher the larger the tattoo to be removed.
A slight linear scar is likely to result where the skin is sutured. The size and permanence of the scar depends on the skill of the surgeon and how rigorous the aftercare is. Often these small scars fade away with time; over a 6 to 8 month period. However, Asians and other darker skinned people who are susceptible to keloid formation (heavy scarring) should carefully consider the risks with excision.
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