Q-Switch YAG laser

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In 1991 the Q-Switched Neodymium-YAG laser was introduced for tattoo removal. Theoretically, this laser with a longer wavelength (1064nm) would allow deeper penetration and at the same time exhibit less melanin absorption. Early studies using this laser showed that it was very effective in removing dark blue black ink seen in amateur and professional tattoos and especially useful in removing dark ink from cosmetic eyeliner tattoos. The addition of a frequency doubling crystal to this laser, provided laser output at 532nm or green light, which also aided the removal of tattoos containing red and orange ink.

At the present time the Q-Switch YAG laser is the workhorse of tattoo removal. Unfortunately, certain ink colors, most often, green do not respond to this laser necessitating the use of Ruby or Alexandrite lasers for complete removal. In 1992, a Q-Switched Alexandrite laser was introduced operating at a wavelength of 755nm. The Alexandrite crystal emits energy that is longer than the Ruby at 694nm and significantly shorter than the ND-YAG laser at 1064nm. Excellent results have been obtained in the treatment of blue-black and green tattoos using this laser. At the present time, the Center for Laser Surgery offers all currently available tattoo treatment modalities on site including Q-Switched Ruby, Q-Switched Alexandrite and Q-Switched ND-YAG lasers. The availability of all three lasers greatly increases our success in the treatment of complex multi-colored tattoo.

Other uses for tattoo lasers are removal of traumatic tattooing resulting from mechanical penetration of foreign particles into the body. These tattoos are most likely associated with falls or “road rash” and can be easily eliminated by treatment using tattoo removal lasers. In addition, unwanted or misplaced cosmetic tattoos such as eyeliner and lip liner tattoos can be removed by means of Q-Switched lasers. In summary, lasers available at the Center for Laser Surgery provide an excellent means of tattoo removal with little or no scarring. These lasers offer significant advantages over previous methods for tattoo removals and are presently the treatment of choice and standard of care for tattoo removal.