American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
5 years ago

Tattoo removal Part 2

I am writing in again because I did not see an area to reply to the surgeon that answered my first question. My tattoo on my finger is an inch both ways, so very small. It is only black ink. It is an outline of a heart with an initial in the middle and I have had a couple other tattoos removed before and none of them have been this hard. I have had 13 sessions on this . What would surgery cost?

Procedure: Tattoo Removal
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Replies 5

Michael Law
ASPS Surgeon
Add to Favorites

The way we would address this in my practice is with a laser. This would not be a surgical procedure. You may want to look for a Syneron / Candela Picoway laser in your area. Without seeing the tattoo I can't give you exact proving, but generally black ink is very responsive to laser treatments. Particularly if a new generation laser is used.

Shashidhar Kusuma
ASPS Surgeon

Similar to the response to the first part, I would encourage you to try a pico laser for this. If you have given up on the laser strategy and if you are comfortable that a pico type of laser was used and it still didn't work and you are now committed to surgery, this is something that can be done in the office setting under local anesthesia. On a finger, that amount of skin removal might need a graft or a some more elegant work to reconstruct. The pricing will vary based on the number of stages and where it is done such as an office setting under local anesthesia, or a surgical center under deeper anesthesia . The recovery and post operative course may also be long and should be discussed.

May cost $3000 or more.

Gregory Dowbak
ASPS Surgeon

13 sessions? Time to move on. Lasers generally work well. For tattoos use Q-switch laser (large energy in small space) with correct wave length. Surprised no one mentioned how we did it before lasers. Surgical excision is generally an admission of defeat. Surgeon can cut out upper layer of skin if pigment is superficial then apply small piece of pig skin (not expensive) until new top layer of skin (epithelium) grows in. If pigment deep, dermabrade skin, apply rock salt and this will “leech out” pigment. Finger? Hand? Avoid significant surgery, hand arguably most important organ in human body. Good Luck!

Jon Ver Halen

Dear Lauren,

Hello and thank you for your excellent question. I suggest that you first seek treatment using a laser, before your consider surgical excision. It is best to answer your question during a face-to-face evaluation, when you can discuss your goals and expectations for the procedure, and you can have a physical examination to evaluate for that procedure. I recommend that you find a board-certified, or board-eligible plastic surgeon with whom you are comfortable. Be sure to have all of your questions answered during a face-to-face meeting with your surgeon, and review before and after pictures of similar patients whom have had this procedure. If you have any questions, call our office for assistance. Good luck!

Arthur Yu
ASPS Surgeon

Hi, thank you for your question. After 13 times of lasering and no effect, I would say that its likely that your tattoo artist used a very stubborn ink. Most of the black inks in this country respond well to nano or pico lasers, if the ink were legit..... Try to move up to a more powerful pico laser in your community and, if it still doesn't work, look at a broader area from where you reside...


Patient Care Center