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Laser Tattoo Removal

903589927 - FAQ & Aftercare Tips

Laser Tattoo Removal

Correct your tattoo mistakes.




Frequently Asked Questions


How many treatments will I need?

The average number of treatments a patient needs ranges between 5 and 10. Patients with older or faded tattoos usually require around 3 to 4 treatments. Muskegon Surgical Associates uses the Kirby-Desai Scale to best determine the number of treatments you will need. Due to the varying layers of ink in a tattoo, tattoo removal is not typically a one-time treatment. Because every tattoo is different, various factors will affect how many sessions you will need. Some of these factors include:

  • Age of tattoo
  • Location of tattoo
  • Ink Density
  • Ink Colors
  • Skin Type
  • Patient Health
  • Pre-existing scarring


How long before I see complete removal?

Since every tattoo is unique and since every patient heals at different rates, there is no way to determine the exact duration it will take to completely remove your tattoo. Treatment sessions are spaced a minimum of 4 to 8 weeks apart to allow enough time for your skin to heal before its next laser session. That being said, some patients may experience complete removal after a few months while others may take over a year. The same factors we use to determine the number of treatments you will need also play into how long it will take to completely remove your unwanted ink. Our Astanza Trinity laser is designed to eliminate more ink with each session, speeding up that natural fading process and minimizing the number of overall treatments needed.


Does the laser hurt?

Many patients compare the laser sensation to a rubber band being snapped against the skin. Others say it is comparable to having a tattoo applied. Whatever your pain tolerance is, the overall procedure is very tolerable. Luckily, laser tattoo removal is a very quick procedure that lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes depending on the size of the tattoo receiving treatment. Muskegon Surgical Associates provides skin numbing before, during, and after treatment featuring the Zimmer Cryo Cooling Device.


Are there side effects?

Laser tattoo removal is the safest method for removing unwanted ink. Our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons use protocols that are tailored to your unique skin type and tattoo to ensure your skin receives optimal results. The most common side effects experiences are redness, swelling, itchiness, scabbing, blistering, and skin pigmentation changes. These side effects are temporary and heal over the weeks following a treatment. Patients are encouraged to follow proper aftercare instructions outside of our clinic to generate the best results for their skin.


Can you lighten my tattoo for a cover-up?

Absolutely! Our Astanza Trinity laser performs complete ink removal, partial removal of a tattoo, and fading of ink for tattoos in preparation for a cover-up tattoo. Cover-up tattoos are a popular solution for dealing with unwanted ink. However, many tattoo artists have difficulty covering up existing artwork that contains a lot of dark ink. To successfully mask an original design, tattoo artists tend to use twice the amount of ink. Lightening a tattoo allows cover-up artists to use less ink and also gives them more flexibility with their design. A faded tattoo acts more like a blank canvas than a tattoo with lots of heavy and dense ink. Most patients only require 1 to 3 treatments for successful lightening.

Aftercare Tips


Muskegon Surgical Associates strongly advises patients to follow proper aftercare instructions following each session. Our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons and industry-leading Astanza Trinity laser promise to provide the safest protocols and unmatched treatments, however, it is your responsibility to care for your skin outside of our clinic. Proper aftercare is the most important step to ensuring clear skin and ink-free results. These steps help fight against unwanted infection and prevent more serious side effects from developing. All patients will receive a take home aftercare instruction sheet. Below are just a few aftercare tips to keep in mind and prepare for.


  1. Showers can be taken as long as high pressure water does not hit the treatment site. All other soaking activities – baths, pools, hot tubs, etc. – should be avoided at all costs to reduce the chance of infection.
  2. Blisters and scabs are a common side effect to laser treatment. Though unsightly, these side effects are positive and natural reactions to the healing process. If blisters or scabs form, protect the area and allow them to pop or flake off on their own. Never prematurely pick or pop a blister or scab. Doing so can lead to infection and permanent side effects, like scarring. Once a blister or scab has naturally popped/flaked, wait 24 hours before applying an antibiotic ointment.
  3. Cold compresses can be applied to the treatment site after a session. This helps reduce any discomfort and inflammation. Tylenol or Motrin may also be taken for added comfort, however, Aspirin should be avoided as it can increase risks of bruising and/or bleeding.
  4. Sunblock of SPF 25 or higher should be applied to the treatment site once it has completely healed.
  5. If extreme reactions or infection occur, immediately contact our office for help.






(A Division of MSA – Plastic Surgery)