Tattoos have become almost ubiquitous nowadays. However some people regret their decision, are unhappy with a tattoo or find it is projecting an image that they are no longer happy with. Whilst lasers are commonly thought of as the best way to remove tattoos, their success is variable, especially with certain colours.
Surgery is often the best answer for small to moderate sized tattoos. The tattoo can be removed either in one sitting or over a course of 2 to 3 short operations under local anaesthetic (whilst you are awake). The tattoo is swapped for a scar so this has to be considered in the decision making process. However, in many people once they have decided they want rid of the tattoo, it is a good trade to make.
We recently treated Michael, a 27 year old male model who was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to go New York for a modelling assignment. However, the terms and conditions stated he should have no visible tattoos. Unfortunately he had a series of stars tattooed some years ago on his abdomen which he now regretted. He enquired within the modelling agency, and were he to have a scar on his abdomen, that was considered acceptable (if not almost desirable to make him stand out from the crowd!) He came to see expert Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Marc Pacifico presenting the challenge of removing the complex series of stars that you can see in the picture below. Added to this, was the fact that clearly he was a very fit young man with good quality taut skin and very little body fat so there was not much loose skin for Marc to work with!
Marc ingeniously devised a geometrical pattern that he marked out onto Michael’s abdomen in such a way that each part of the pattern would interlock with it’s opposite side. In this way, Marc was able to incorporate the plastic surgery technique of a “W-plasty” into the tattoo excision. By doing this, the whole tattoo could be removed in one sitting and the fine stitches used were removed ten days later. Michael was then able to go to New York as planned and now tells the story of the shark attack in the Caribbean!