In the year 2011, about 100,000 tattoo removal procedures were performed which was 20,000 more than the previous year, according to the American Society of Dermatological Surgery. Meaning that there has been a demand for this procedure and this has led manufacturers producing laser devices that remove body art more effectively.
With so much research and development, the introduction of the FDA-approved PicoSure laser workstation has been a success because it has been proved to be safe and effective. Not only does it remove tattoos in a picosecond but also can benign pigmented lesions formed when there is so much melanin produced in an area.
How it works
PicoSure produces short and rapid bursts of energy to one’s skin in about one-trillionth of a second which leads photothermal and photomechanical effects. These effects are actually caused by ultra-short durations, which break and destroy the color pigments without having any effect on the tissue surrounding the region.
Before now, the Q-switch nanolaser was the commonly used tattoo removal device which produces pulses in one-billionth of a second. It works similarly to the Picosure as it uses selective photothermolysis. It usually targets ink of various wavelengths with the energy produced creating heat that will damage and break ink particles apart, readily absorbed by the body and then expelled. What differs the Q-switch from Picosure is that it permits lower repetition rates, longer durations and higher energies of the pulse produced. This implies that it generates just a very tiny fraction of the power Picosure produces, which does this in picoseconds.
How effective is Picosure?
As mentioned earlier, the picosecond laser has very short pulse durations which make it produce pulses that have large peak power and center energy more accurately on a small region of space. A tattoo which usually used to take up to 15-20 treatments can now be removed within 4 to 5 treatment. This means that it can be removed faster and less than half the time it used to take.
In a clinical study, 15 patients who went for removal of dark, 2D tattoos, ¾ of them showed clearance of more than 75% within 3-4 treatments. Another 5 of them that had benign pigmented lesions had a 100% clearance just after 2 treatments. It also improved the texture of their skin which include hypertrophic and atrophic scars.
A separate study was performed on 22 patients who had difficult-to-remove tattoos. Two weeks after, they had more than 80% clearance after treatment with 94 percent clearance on average when it was used on green and blue ink.
Picosure works best on blue, green and black inks, although it also works on other colors such as purple, orange and yellow inks, as well.
Advantages of using Picosure
- High speed and less duration of procedure
- Little or no pain during and after treatment.
- Improves skin texture.
- Rapid healing time which takes just a week as against several weeks.
- More effective in removing tattoos and benign pigmentation lesions.
- More effective ablation of very stubborn ink colors like green and blue.
- Pulse durations are shorter.