Lasers aid in tattoo removal

Body Details in Aventura uses lasers to break up ink, allow body to absorb remnants of tattoo

AVENTURA, Fla. - When Neil Goodman got his first tattoo in college, it was a spur of the moment decision.

"There was really no rhyme or reason. I just went into a tattoo shop and got a little devil on my shoulder," said Goodman.

Over time, Goodman added layers to the original tattoo and had a second one added to his back.

When he realized he no longer liked the look of either tattoo, Goodman went to Body Details in Aventura to ask about removing them.

"They've tried a bunch of things in tattoo removal. I mean, it's pretty scary how archaic it used to be to remove tattoos, including excision, where they would cut the skin off then graft new skin on top," said Claudio Sorrentino, the CEO of Body Details.

Today, tattoos can be removed using lasers that break the ink up into pieces small enough for the body to absorb and filter out over time.

"Most tattoo removal treatments take between 10 to 20 minutes because the laser pulses so fast, it pulses at a billionth of a second per pulse," said Sorrentino.

Studies have shown that smoking can reduce the success of tattoo removal and that certain colors and locations make them harder to eliminate.

"The other only limitation we have is we don't know what the ink is beneath the skin," said Sorrentino. "There's no regulation in this country with the FDA regarding tattoo ink, so you may have someone's homemade ink that's in your body that contains plastics or other things that we don't know are in there."

So far, the process is working for Goodman. One tattoo is gone while the other is fading away.

"It's a painful process, but in the end, it's just like getting a tattoo," said Goodman.

The cost of removal depends on the size and color of the tattoo. Costs can range from $750 to $10,000.

Studies show that most patients can complete the removal process with four treatments, but each procedure needs to be spaced several weeks apart.

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