Long-term evaluation of ink clearance in tattoos with different color intensity using the 1064-nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser

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The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of tattoo removal treatments using the 1064-nm Q-switched (QS) Nd:YAG laser.

Background data

Today, QS lasers appear to be the most common, effective, and safest methods to treat unwanted markings.

Material and methods

A total of 64 patients with 75 unwanted tattoos were enrolled in the study. Tattoo clearance was evaluated according to the color intensity – concentration of pigment: group I (34) – black; group II (41) – gray. Consideration included methods of tattooing and tattoo techniques.


In group I, after the first treatment session the median of clearance was 30% (10–50%), while in group II, the median was 50% (40–70%). After the second treatment session, median in group I increased to 40% (30–50%). Median of group II increased to 70% (50–80%). The highest number of treatment in group I was 7. After that, the median grew to 75%, while the highest amount of treatment in group II was 5 and a median of 90% was achieved.


Effects were dependent upon the amount of ink deposited in the tissue. Old amateur tattoos and tattoos containing small quantities of ink (technique: shading and lines) demonstrated the quickest and the most efficacious results. Tattoos with large quantities of ink, obtained by filling, required the greatest number of treatment sessions. The final outcome in tattoo clearing can only be assessed following treatment completion, which may in some cases take 2–3 years. Presumably, in some cases, complete clearance is impossible.

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