In general, without any anesthesia, tattoo removal probably hurts more than getting a tattoo. Fortunately, there are safe ways to reduce this pain.
Topical anesthetic creams are the most common methods used in laser tattoo removal businesses. Although the ‘numbing cream’ we use at Regrettable Ink is a combination of three powerful numbing compounds and works very well for hair removal and facial rejuvenation, feedback from patients consistently indicates that it does not completely eliminate the pain of laser tattoo removal.
Injection of the local anesthesia drug 1% Lidocaine offers the absolute best method of pain reduction. Fifteen minutes before treatment, a small amount of Lidocaine can be injected into the soft tissue containing the tattoo and most patients enjoy a painless tattoo removal session. Patients who have experienced tattoo removal with topical numbing cream and then try the injection of local anesthesia ALWAYS insist on receiving the local anesthetic for the rest of their treatments.
The inhalation of a 50/50 mixture of nitrous oxide (N2O) delivered via a system named NITRONOX®, can be of assistance in pain reduction, however, due to the cost involved in providing single-patient-only mask and tubing coupled with the cost of N2O, there is an additional fee of $45. Local anesthesia and/or numbing cream is so effective that it is rare to require this.
After you are made comfortable on the treatment bed, and have your eye protection in place, the laser treatment will begin. The length of time for a treatment depends upon the size of the tattoo. In multi-colored tattoo removal projects, a second treatment hand-piece may be required to provide an additional wavelength of light. This process only takes a few minutes and your project can then be completed. Ice will be applied to the site and a bandage applied.
You will be given written instructions to guide your ‘after-care’. Your next treatment, usually in six weeks, will be scheduled as you exit the facility.