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Is Laser Tattoo Removal Painful?


Updated January 14, 2009

Question: Is Laser Tattoo Removal Painful?

Usually, a topical anesthetic is applied approximately 30 to 90 minutes prior to your session, making the procedure much more comfortable. In some cases, an injectable local anesthetic may be used, or in rare instances an oral sedative may be prescribed to be taken beforehand. These options should be discussed with your doctor prior to your appointment.

The good news is that each session typically lasts only 60 to 90 seconds. Moreover, most patients do not find the sessions to be very painful. In fact, the majority of patients equate the feeling of treatment with the laser to the mild discomfort of being “snapped by a rubber band.”

Over-the-counter ibuprofen pain medications may be used following the procedure to lessen post-operative discomfort.

Return to laser tattoo removal frequently asked questions.


Interview with Will Kirby, DO, FACOS - Los Angeles, CA - conducted on November 19, 2008

Laser Treatment of Tattoos; Eric F. Bernstein; Clinics in Dermatology, Volume 24, Issue 1, January-February 2006, Pages 43-55

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