Julie Miranda had no regrets when she got a tattoo of a flower on her arm when she was 18 years old. But, at 39, the stay-at-home mom believed the youthful design wasn’t right for her anymore.
“My lifestyle has changed since I was younger,” Miranda said. “It’s not appropriate for me anymore. I just want to be able to wear tank tops, dresses and to feel comfortable with myself.”
Miranda considered tattoo removal, but knowing it could take years to complete, she settled for covering up with long sleeves, sweaters and jackets.
However, after she heard about a new procedure that is able to remove tattoos in a fraction of the time, Miranda immediately made an appointment with Dr. Eric Schweiger, a dermatologist in New York City, who performs the procedure.
Called the R-20 technique, patients can begin to see results in just one session. Tattoos that normally would take four treatments to remove, only require one; tattoos that would need eight sessions, only require two — and so on.
“What we could do in four months before, we can do in one day now,” Schweiger explained. “So patients are getting much faster results and when it’s faster, they’re more likely to come in. Because if there’s one thing that really discourages patients from getting tattoo removals is that during the consult, we tell them it takes one to two years to clear a tattoo. Now that we can do it in maybe one to two months, it’s really changing the way they look at this procedure.”
After injecting a local anesthetic, Schweiger performs the first pass of the laser, tracing the entire tattoo. Gas bubbles form and dissipate 20 minutes later, and the area is able to be penetrated deeper into the tattoo for the second pass of the laser. Schweiger completes up to four passes of the laser in one treatment session.
Multi-colored tattoos typically require more treatments, and as with any laser procedure, there are some risks of lightening or darkening of the treated area and scarring.
Patients who undergo the procedure can expect about seven to 10 days of recovery time, and each pass of the laser costs $400.