Title: Laser treatment of tattoos in darkly pigmented patients: efficacy and side effects.
Author: Grevelink JM, Duke D, van Leeuwen RL, Gonzalez E, DeCoste SD, Anderson RR
Journal: J Am Acad Dermatol 1996 Apr;34(4):653-6
PMID: 8601656, UI: 96176732
Affiliated institution: Dermatology Laser Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.
BACKGROUND: Many modalities for the treatment of tattoos and pigmented lesions produce a greater risk of complications in Fitzpatrick types V and VI skin because of an increased incidence of adverse pigmentary changes and keloidal scarring. In fair-skinned persons Q-switched lasers have proved effective in removing pigmented lesions and tattoos without scarring. OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to determine the efficacy and effects of Q-switched lasers on a small series of darkly pigmented patients with tattoos. METHODS: Four patients of Ethiopian origin with facial and neck tribal tattoos were treated with both the Q-switched ruby and Nd:YAG lasers. One black woman with a multicolored tattoo on the mid chest was treated with the Q-switched ruby laser. RESULTS: Clearing of all lesions was seen. The treatments did not result in scarring or permanent pigment changes other than the ones intended. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that in darkly pigmented patients, Q-switched laser treatment of tattoos can be performed successfully. The longer wavelength Q-switched Nd:YAG laser is recommended when removing tattoos in darker complected persons. A test treatment is advised before treatment of large skin areas.