Treatment of Tattoos With a 755-nm Q-switched Alexandrite Laser and Novel 1064 nm and 532 nm Nd:YAG Laser Handpieces Pumpedby the Alexandrite Treatment Beam

November 2010 | Volume 9 | Issue 11 | Original Article | 1333 | Copyright © November 2010

Eric F. Bernstein MD MSE, Jay Bhawalkar PhD, Joan Clifford MPH, James Hsia PhD

Abstract
Background: Multi-colored and even black tattoos often require more than one wavelength to remove the target pigment. The authors report here a novel alexandrite laser with two Nd:YAG laser handpieces pumped by the alexandrite treatment beam enabling the delivery of three wavelengths from a single device. Objective: To describe and evaluate the effectiveness of a novel Q-switched laser-pumped laser for treating tattoos. Materials and Methods: Twenty tattoos in 14 subjects were treated at four-week intervals using a combination of available wavelengths (532, 755 and 1064 nm) as determined by the treating physician. Digital cross-polarized photographs were taken before treatment and two months following the fourth and final treatment. Photographs were evaluated by three physician observers blinded as to the treatment condition and rated for clearance by the following scale: 1=>95 percent, 2=76–95 percent, 3=51–75 percent, 4=26–50 percent and 5=0–25 percent clearance. Results: The average clearance score was 3.1, in the 51–75 percent range, two months following four treatments. No scarring, hyper- or hypopigmentation was noted on post-treatment photographs or by the treating physician. Conclusion: The alexandrite and alexandrite-pumped 532 nm and 1064 nm Q-switched lasers are effective for removing decorative tattoos, and represents the first commercial laser with laser-pumped, laser handpieces.