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02-15-13 | Posted by

Think before you ink?

Not a chance. That’s why ‘tat regret’ can happen to the best of us. That Phish logo tattoo seemed like such a great idea during your groupie days, but is less inspired now that you are a married mother of two who is on track to make partner at a law firm.

Or maybe, you have grown out of your Superman phase, finally.

The good news is that tattoo removal technology is getting better and better. That’s why everyone is doing it. Talk show host Kelly Ripa recently copped to having her ankle tattoo removed as it only served as a reminder of what she called her “youthful stupidity.”

The latest entry in this growing category—Cynosure®’s PicoSure laser—is reportedly a game changer. PicoSure will officially launch March 1 at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in Miami, FL. It works by delivering very short bursts of energy to the skin to rapidly erase almost all tattoos in fewer treatments than older lasers.

Preliminary research suggests that these short bursts are safe, faster, and more effective at removing tattoos and benign pigmented lesions than available lasers. In particular, this laser works wonders on green and blue ink.

“Blue and green are common in many tattoos and have been very resistant to treatment until now,” says Roy G. Geronemus, MD, the director of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York in New York City. “It would take 10 to 15 or more treatments to get rid of green or blue ink in the past and now we can now do with one to three treatments. It’s very awesome.”

As an investigator in the clinical trials that led to Food and Drug Administration approval of this device, Geronemus is one of two doctors in the US to have the Picosure at his disposal today.

Yes, there is some healing time, but not as much as there was with older tat-removing lasers, he tells.  Laser tattoo removal is usually performed using local anesthesia. “We are seeing less downtime, but nothing significant compared to existing devices,” he says. “In general, this is a safe procedure and the response is much faster than it was before. PicoSure is a quantum leap forward in tattoo ink removal.”

Treatment with the new laser may be more expensive than some of the older models, but there are no set price points yet.

Better safe than sorry, Geronemus adds.  If you are interested in tattoo removal, see a physician who has experience using the new technologies and techniques, he says.

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