Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Second Pass Method?

Hello everyone! Been a few months...

Well, I called the dermatologist's office the other day to make an appointment, and unlike usual, they said, "we have an appointment tomorrow". So instead of waiting weeks and posting my next treatment date, I just went in and had number 13 done yesterday.

As usual, the assistant takes photos before injecting me with anesthesia, but this time she said she would need to check with the PA if we would even do a treatment due to how little ink is remaining, which is not what I wanted to hear, because I want ALL of the ink gone as best as possible. I still thought at that point we could do more. I'm sure you'll agree, so here are some pics of where the tattoo was at the day before treatment number 13 and morning of this latest treatment as well. At this point, lighting is everything when it comes to accurately documenting the amount of ink left. Bright lights tend to reflect the white of the scar tissue still remaining, but low lights, such as that in shady areas or indoors, will not have as much light to reflect back onto the observing eye, so you get a better view of the tattoo. I took several pics in different lighting, so you can see what I mean.

The photos below are after 12 treatments of laser tattoo removal in full sunlight, and it been almost 4 months since my last treatment. 

Laser Tattoo Removal After 12 Treatments May 2012

Laser Tattoo Removal After 12 Treatments
Laser Tattoo Removal After 12 Treatments

This is when I most enjoy my arm and the tattoo removal. That is when I am outside under the bright light of the desert sun. Viewing the remaining pigments is more difficult, so I feel more comfortable wearing tank tops and exposing the faded tattoo than I do when I am indoors. I guess outside (as some have remarked) it looks more like a scar of some sorts, though I know they are just being nice :). 

Left Side - Laser Tattoo Removal

Right Side - Laser Tattoo Removal

This is also outdoors, but it is under the lower light of a shaded porch, so the darker inks are more visible. One thing I love best about this process so far, including not just the laser tattoo removal but the tanning project to even out my skin tone as well, is the way the far left side of the tattoo has blended with the rest of my skin pigment. In months and years prior, this side looked the most scarred, but it has turned out to be a well blended and healed area with minimal black ink remaining. I don't think I am recommending tanning (that's dangerous), but I am not saying to avoid the sun all together, especially when you get to the point where you want to see what the tattoo will look like if this were the end of the removal process. It may also signify that the process is not over, as has been my experience.

This was taken indoors and shows how the tattoo would look today if you were standing next to me. The tattoo is clearly (at least to me) still there and obviously was what it was. Not quite done!

Laser Tattoo Removal After 12 Treatments May 2012

The dermatologists office is with me on removing this thing entirely, but I knew that when the PA came in to analyze the progress, she might come recommending something other than lasers (dermabrasion...maybe). I was sitting there waiting and thinking, "am I ready for this and is this the direction I want to go?". 

When the PA came in to the room, her thought was that the ink was deep and that the lasers we had been using were exhausted to their capacity as far as this tattoo is concerned. She thought that the doctor might want cut my tattoo open and then do a laser tattoo removal treatment while that bit of flesh was open.....what?! OMG! Ouch! She said that we had talked previously of this method, but I did not remember that. How invasive and scary is that? Now thinking back on it, what I remember was us talking about doing 3 to 4 treatments of dermabrasion on it, not open-skin-laser-removal method, ouch! Talk about a deep burn. This is good information for those considering all of their options and wanting to see where these paths could lead, as this may be an option if going to a medical clinic. Not sure anyone would want to try this, but it is apparently an option for some.

The doctor came into the room and thoroughly looked it over. His professional opinion was that the newer (research supported - as I was told) and less invasive method of "multiple passes" or "second pass" and "third passes" might be beneficial. In the second pass method, that I did receive, the specialist does one laser (Q-plus or "Ruby Laser") that breaks up the pigments and then have me wait in a lounge area for 15 minutes.
This is me waiting and patiently amusing myself. 

 After waiting for a period of time, my wait ended up being a 30 minutes, I am brought back and a second laser (trivantage) that works by further breaking up the pigments that have already broken-up during the wait. Normally, I get both lasers (...I think), but usually there is just no wait period.My thought also was that they target different inks, but the second laser may be a more catch all type.

In the end, it ended up seeming to hurt more that first day, but so far, that was the only difference. I could be wrong about the increased pain. After all, it has been nearly 4 months since my last treatment.

So I am curious, does anyone else get second pass treatments? Is this new to you too? What do you think given your understanding of the technology?

Also, for the next time, I will be getting "third pass treatments", but the third laser will be entirely new to my skin!! I've never received a treatment by the future number 3.For a sneak peak, the third laser is more cosmetic, and it is not intended to remove any of the tattoo.

I'll keep you posted on all that. I also think this blog is long over due for side-by-sides, and I have paintshop again, so I'll finally be able to get that done.