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HealthWatch: Faster, More Effective Laser Tattoo Removal

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A high-intensity laser called AlexTriVantage is used to remove a tattoo.

A high-intensity laser called AlexTriVantage is used to remove a tattoo.

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — In recent years, tattoos have become more popular than ever – but so has tattoo regret, as a growing number of people are trying to erase their body art completely.

Now, a breakthrough treatment is making tattoo removal faster and more effective than ever, reports CBS 2’s Dr. Holly Phillips.

“I was in love, and I thought this was it, and he broke my heart,” Joan Johnson said.

Johnson, 40, carried a constant reminder of that lost love in the form of a bold tattoo of her former boyfriend’s name.

“Once it was over, I’m like ‘oh my God, I need to get this guy off my back,’” she said.

Johnson visited her dermatologist, Dr. Cameron Rocksar, for the most high-tech tattoo removal available. Dr. Rocksar said he sees countless patients in her predicament.

“I think tattoos are sometimes the kind of thing where people get them on a whim, and it seems like there’s a lot of regret associated with that,” Dr. Rocksar said.

Dr. Rocksar now uses the newest form of laser treatment – an Alex TriVantage laser – where numbing shots are given first, and then bursts of high-intensity laser light are aimed at the tattoo.

“The whole idea behind laser tattoo removal is to use certain wavelengths of light to break up the pigment in the tattoo into certain particles,” Dr. Rocksar said.

The main difference with the new laser is that it uses three wavelengths instead of one, making the removal of tattoos with multiple colors much easier.

Dr. Rocksar says depending on the depth of the pigment in the tattoo, removal can require anywhere from three to 12 sessions. The treatment can have a dramatic difference, but results vary.

“There are patients that have complete clearing of the tattoos, there are patients that have 80 to 90 percent clearing of their tattoos,” Dr. Rocksar said.

Johnson said the procedure was painless, and although she has found love again, she’s not headed to the tattoo parlor anytime soon.

“I’ll just keep him in my heart,” she said. “I don’t have to put his name on my back, or anywhere else on my body.”

Each laser tattoo removal session costs between $300 and $500 dollars.

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