Laser tattoo removal is an intriguing process to most individuals, and like a tattoo each procedure is individualized based on the person and the ink they’d like to remove. Because laser tattoo removal works through light, there are important factors in predicting its effectiveness on any particular person’s tattoos. While most tattoos can be removed successfully, the number of treatments required to eliminate a tattoo completely vary as well as the type of laser used.
The creators of a proposed scale for tattoo removal called the Kirby-Desai Scale hope to help laser technicians and doctors to efficiently determine the most effective way and the number of sessions needed to remove any tattoo—regardless of size, color, or shape.
The Kirby-Desai Scale focuses on 6 major elements to determine the effectiveness of tattoo removal: a person’s Fitzpatrick skin type, the tattoo’s location on the body, the tattoo pigment color, the amount of ink in the tattoo (or size), the amount of scarring or tissue change, and whether the tattoo is layered. Each element is assigned a score from 1 to 5.
For example, we’ll say a man has a full-color, completely filled-in tattoo of a tiger on his chest that covers the pectoral muscle that he’d like to remove. A person with light skin is 2 points on the scale, and a tattoo on the chest is 2 points. A tattoo with multiple colors is 4 points, and if the size/amount of ink is moderate, that’s 3 points. The application of a tattoo that caused no scarring is 0 points, and the tattoo wasn’t layered over another tattoo, which is 0 points.
The points are then added together, in the case of our tiger man 11 points, and that number is used to determine the number of laser tattoo removal sessions required to eliminate that tattoo completely. So, tiger man would need somewhere around 8 sessions to get rid of his inked cat.
This scale can be useful to the tattoo removal specialist for obvious reasons, but can be helpful to the patient as well. Being able to plan out the number of tattoo removal sessions allows patients to schedule the removal sessions within their agenda, budget for the appropriate number of procedures, and prepare themselves adequately for the process because they’ll know what to expect from laser tattoo removal.
The originators of the Kirby-Desai tattoo removal scale hope to bring certainty to patients in an effort to help doctors educate their patients completely before them embark on the tattoo removal process.
Make sure to check out our laser tattoo removal before and after gallery for pictures of results we’ve gotten at Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center in Duluth.
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