PicoWay Traumatic Tattoo Removal

Traumatic Tattoo Removal

The term tattooing is derived from “tattau”, a Tahitian word which translates essentially as “to mark”. A tattoo is a pattern, picture or other mark made on the skin. These permanent marks can be made purposely, creating words or designs. However, sometimes, traumatic occurrences leave their mark on the skin as well. These undesirable, accidental tattoos are caused by the forceful penetration of the skin from foreign bodies, such as fireworks’ particles, metals, gunpowder, asphalt, or a variety of metals. This kind of tattoo can frequently be seen on victims of bicycle, motorcycle or automobile accidents.

Traumatic tattoos can be successfully treated with the PicoWay Laser, which we use here at Laser Spa Group.

If you have any tattoo you would like to have removed, the procedure will be similar to that described here. However, the exact process and techniques that are used for your tattoo removal will be outlined specifically for you when you come in for your consultation. Every patient is individual and must be treated that way.



Before and After

Frequently Asked Questions


Traumatic tattoos, also known as foreign body tattoos or explosive powder the saurismosis, are caused by occupational and various accidents that cause small particles of foreign bodies such as sediment, cinder, stone, metal, gunpowder, asphalt, dust or petroleum products to splash at high-speed. Pigmentation diseases caused by injection or following trauma into the deep layers of the skin can also be wrapped to form granulomas in the deep layers of the skin. In fact, both tattoos and traumatic tattoos are a type of hyperpigmentation, which is caused by skin lesions caused by foreign pigments.

Due to the different causes of injury, traumatic tattoos can be divided into the following types:

  • Explosive type: Explosive powder deposits caused by powder foreign matter, and pulverized coal deposits.
  • Abrasion type: Caused by a car accident or falling from a high place, etc., causing foreign particles to enter the wound from the damaged skin.
  • Poke injury type: caused by a pencil piercing directly into the skin.


Traumatic tattoos mainly occur in exposed areas of the skin and are prone to trauma, such as the face, hands, and feet. After the injury, there are often bruises, pimples, or spotted rash. The color of the traumatic tattoo varies according to the nature of the foreign body, the color, and the level of entry into the skin. The size and shape of the lesion vary from disease to disease and are usually blue, gray, or black.

PICOWAY® is a NEW laser treatment from Syneron-Candela: a picosecond laser system for the elimination of tattoos. PicoWay’s unique mode of action is based on delivering ultra-short picosecond pulses of energy to the tissues. These bursts of energy create a photo-mechanical impact which shatters the tattoo ink into smaller particles that are more easily eliminated by your bodily phagocytic cells. It allows us to reduce the number of treatment sessions necessary by comparison to the traditional lasers used up to now.

The PicoWay system consists of an alexandrite laser head with a picosecond Nd:YAG Laser Deck. The 532nm and 1064nm wavelengths have been carefully selected and the laser pulse duration being well controlled, the treatment of tattoos can be performed with minimal energetic densities, reducing the possibility of adverse effects to normal surrounding tissues.

DEPTH: Ink is injected into the dermis, below the skin, where it’s harder to remove.

INK PARTICLE SIZE: The bigger the ink particle size, the harder it is to remove a tattoo. Traditional laser tattoo removal can be used to break up ink particles making them easier for the body to carry away, but sometimes the remaining ink particles are still too large, even after multiple laser treatments.

COLOR: While dark blues, blacks and red are easy to treat, other colors such as oranges, purples and yellows can be more difficult to remove.

SKIN TONE: With most lasers, darker skin tones are harder to treat because too much energy can be absorbed into the skin rather than the targeted ink particles. Not only does this weaken the results, it also increases the risk of injury.

A short pulse of intense red light emitted by a laser PicoWay is selectively absorbed by the tattoo ink localized in the dermal skin. This laser energy causes the tattoo ink to fragment into smaller pigment particles that are removed by your body’s immune system. Dark tattoos can have larger ink masses and may require several sessions of treatment to break the ink into small enough particles for the body to dispose of. One will note that the tattoo gradually fades from one session of treatment to the other.

Q-Switch technology requires numerous treatment sessions, causes significant discomfort during treatment and, in many cases, incompletely removes tattoos and pigmented lesions. Picosecond technology, has ultra-short pulse durations, 100 times shorter than Q-switch lasers, and in the trillionths of a second. These bursts of energy create a photoacoustic impact which breaks up the tattoo ink or pigmentation into smaller, more easily absorbed particles. PicoWay’s unique, proprietary mode of action has the highest peak power and the shortest pulse duration of any picosecond device on the market for superior efficacy, safety and comfort. PicoWay is the answer physicians are looking for to combat the reluctance patients may have to treat tattoos or more complex pigmented lesions.

An amateur tattoo contains less ink than a professional tattoo and is habitually made of ordinary black or blue ink. So it will generally be easier to remove.

The laser pulse feels like a rubber band snapping against your skin. Each pulse treats an area approximately the size of a pencil eraser. If your tattoo is very large, you may elect to apply a topical anesthesia cream (EMLA or MAXILENE) which you will apply at least one hour before a session of treatment, with a Saran Wrap occlusive dressing.

Your skin’s natural pigment, melanin, also absorbs the laser energy, so in people with darker skin the area treated by the laser may become lighter then the surrounding skin for a period of a few months. Melanin eventually repopulates this area restoring the skin to its original color, but once the tattoo ink is gone, it will not return. In any patient, a temporary increase in pigmentation (browning) can occur, particularly, if the treated area is not protected from the sun. It is more likely to happen in individuals with darker skin that tan easily.

Because the laser beam selected for your treatment according to your type of skin and the color of your tattoo is mostly absorbed by the tattoo ink and very little by the normal skin structures, consequently the surrounding skin is not affected by the treatment: epidermal and dermal cells are not destroyed and stay viable. The risk of permanent scarring is estimated to be less than 2% in published studies and is usually observed as a loss of some pigmentation or a change in the texture of the skin.

Immediately after laser exposure the treated area turns white and swells slightly. This whiteness usually fades within twenty minutes. Punctate bleeding can also appear. Over the next several days, blisters may form and then a scab or a thin crust can follow. (Often the scab is the same color as the tattoo, because the superficial tattoo ink has been eliminated into the scab). The skin usually returns to normal in about 7 to 10 days.

This will depend on the size of your tattoo as well as its age, location, depth, type of ink and color. One must take into consideration that the exact number of sessions of treatment necessary to remove any given tattoo is therefore impossible to predict. But with PicoWay not only fewer treatment sessions are generally necessary, as few as 5 to 6 sessions compared with up to 15 to 20 with conventional lasers, but also more effective in removing certain colors such as purples, greens, yellows and light blues. These sessions should be spaced 8 weeks apart to allow your natural immune system to remove the maximum amount of ink particles. You will continue to see fading of the tattoo in between treatment sessions as the ink is gradually eliminated by your body.

Yes in most cases. Greater than 95% of the tattoo may be eliminated.. However, it is very important to know that over 100 multi-colored tattoo inks are in use today. Not knowing what type of tattoo ink, how deep or how much ink has been put in, makes it impossible for one to predict the exact percentage of removal on any given tattoo.

The cost to remove a tattoo depends on the number of treatment sessions required. The number of sessions required depends on the age, size, location, depth, color and type of ink of your tattoo. The cost of treatment shall be discussed with us at the time of the initial consultation.

Pigmented lesions that can be treated with PicoWay include, but are not limited to the following: Laser Skin Toning, Solar or Senile Lentigines, Freckles (Ephelides), Café au lait, Nevus of Ota, Beckers Nevus.

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