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Lasers in tattoo and pigmentation control: role of the PicoSure® laser system

Authors Torbeck R, Bankowski R, Henize S, Saedi N

Received 28 October 2015

Accepted for publication 2 February 2016

Published 2 May 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 63—67

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/MDER.S77993

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Richard Torbeck,1 Richard Bankowski,2 Sarah Henize,3 Nazanin Saedi,1

1Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, 2Cynosure, Inc, Westford, MA, 3Huron Consulting Group, Chicago, IL, USA

Background and objectives: The use of picosecond lasers to remove tattoos has greatly improved due to the long-standing outcomes of nanosecond lasers, both clinically and histologically. The first aesthetic picosecond laser available for this use was the PicoSure® laser system (755/532 nm). Now that a vast amount of research on its use has been conducted, we performed a comprehensive review of the literature to validate the continued application of the PicoSure® laser system for tattoo removal.
Study design and methods: A PubMed search was conducted using the term "picosecond" combined with "laser", "dermatology", and "laser tattoo removal".
Results: A total of 13 articles were identified, and ten of these met the inclusion criteria for this review. The majority of studies showed that picosecond lasers are an effective and safe treatment mode for the removal of tattoo pigments. Several studies also indicated potential novel applications of picosecond lasers in the removal of various tattoo pigments (eg, black, red, and yellow). Adverse effects were generally mild, such as transient hypopigmentation or blister formation, and were rarely more serious, such as scarring and/or textural change.
Conclusion: Advancements in laser technologies and their application in cutaneous medicine have revolutionized the field of laser surgery. Computational modeling provides evidence that the optimal pulse durations for tattoo ink removal are in the picosecond domain. It is recommended that the PicoSure® laser system continue to be used for safe and effective tattoo removal, including for red and yellow pigments.

Keywords: tattoo, removal, laser, picosecond 

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