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October 1996

Treatment of Traumatic Tattoos With the Q-Switched Neodymium:YAG Laser

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, Johoku Hospital, Kyoto, Japan.

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(10):1226-1229. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890340090014

Background:  Treatment for traumatic tattoos often results in incomplete removal of the pigment or produces unacceptable scars or textural changes. Successful results using Q-switched ruby lasers have been reported. The Q-switched neodymium:YAG laser, with a wave-length of 1064 nm and a pulse duration of 5 to 7 nonoseconds, penetrates deeper into the skin and has less interaction with melanin than the Q-switched ruby laser.

Observations:  The present study documents 32 cases of traumatic tattoos involving 51 sites of the face, trunk, and extremities in patients ranging in age from 6 to 58 years. All patients were treated with the Q-switched neodymium:YAG laser. Excellent results were noted for 50 of 51 treated tattoos. The number of treatments to achieve excellent results ranged from 1 to 6, with an average of 1.7. No scarring, atrophy, textural changes, or hypopigmentation was noted in any of the cases. Transient postinflammatory hyperpigmentation of 3 months' duration was noted in 1 patient.

Conclusion:  The Q-switched neodymium:YAG laser was effective in removing traumatic tattoos without any significant side effects.Arch Dermatol. 1996;132:1226-1229

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