Laser Tattoo Removal (Lumenis® M22™ with Q– Switched Nd:YAG handpiece) - San Diego, CA*

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There are lots of reasons that people get tattoos and a lot more reasons why they want them removed. Maybe your lifestyle has changed or your tattoo just doesn't look as good as it once did due to aging and environmental exposure. Modern laser tattoo removal makes it possible to remove the permanent ink from your skin and give you a clean slate. At La Jolla Plastic Surgery in San Diego, triple board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Chaffoo uses the Lumenis M22 with Q-switched Nd:YAG handpiece for fast, effective laser tattoo removal treatments. The Lumenis M22 is designed to be effective on both light and dark inks on all skin colors. Laser tattoo removal, also known as body art removal, is a nonsurgical procedure that requires no incisions and can typically be done in Dr. Chaffoo's office with local anesthesia. So if you've changed your mind about your lower back tattoo or the name of an ex you had tattooed on your arm, schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chaffoo at La Jolla Plastic Surgery to learn more about laser tattoo removal and how it can help you.

Before the Procedure

Before you schedule your first session of laser tattoo removal, Dr. Chaffoo will perform a complimentary consultation to learn more about you and your needs. Dr. Chaffoo will examine the tattoo(s) you want removed and ask about your medical history to avoid complications. If you decide to schedule your laser tattoo removal session, Dr. Chaffoo will give you instructions on how to prepare for your appointment, what to expect during the treatment, and what you should do to care for yourself after your procedure. Please feel free to ask any questions during this time so you will feel confident when you have your treatment.

Procedure Technique

Laser tattoo removal is performed in the minor procedures room of La Jolla Plastic Surgery as an outpatient treatment. You will have a local anesthetic in the treated area to make your procedure more comfortable. Eye shields are also used to protect your eyes from the laser. Most patients find that having their tattoo removed is about the same level of pain as when they got their tattoo, if not less. The laser releases a carefully controlled amount of energy that evenly removes ink without creating "hot-spots" or unpleasant side effects. The length of the procedure will depend on the size and location of your tattoo as well as the ink pigments that were used. Most patients will need a series of treatments to remove most or all of their tattoo.


After a laser tattoo removal treatment, you may feel some mild discomfort or pain for up to 2 days after your appointment. This can usually be treated with ice packs and over-the-counter pain medications. The treated area will be red and swollen for a few days before a crust forms over the tattoo. This crust should fall off in about 2 weeks and you will be able to see the results of your first treatment.


While you will see some results after your first session, you may need 2 – 12 treatments to fully remove your tattoo ink. And it may take up to 8 weeks after your last treatment to see your final results as your tattoo fades and your skin heals. Each patient and every tattoo is different, so talk to Dr. Chaffoo about what to expect and realistic goals for your treatment.

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Plan Your Procedure

Recovery Time  
2 Weeks
Average Procedure Time  
Post-op Follow-up  
8 Weeks
Procedure Recovery Location  
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Laser Tattoo Removal FAQs

Conditions Treated?

Laser tattoo removal at La Jolla Plastic Surgery in San Diego, CA can help you if you have:

  • An unwanted tattoo
  • Tried other methods of tattoo removal without success
  • Trouble concealing your tattoo with makeup or clothing
  • A tattoo that has faded with age

Combining Treatments?

Laser tattoo removal is usually performed on its own, but if you want to make the most of your visits to La Jolla Plastic Surgery, talk to Dr. Chaffoo about other available treatments. Other laser treatments that can improve your appearance include skin resurfacing, hair removal, vein removal, and skin tightening. During your consultation, tell Dr. Chaffoo about all your cosmetic goals so he can create your best treatment plan.

Potential Risks?

Some rare side effects after laser tattoo removal include scarring, a change in skin pigmentation or texture, or changes in sensation. Most of the side effects are temporary and can be avoided by following all of Dr. Chaffoo's instructions.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.