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New tattoo-removal procedure erases some regret

PHOENIX — Tattoo regret happens to a lot of people.

A bad decision can result in a tribal tattoo, the name of a former lover or even a cartoon character inked permanently onto a body.

“All those people who made the decision when they were younger that maybe it was stylish or cool to have a tattoo are entering a new phase in their lives,” said Dr. Lee Laris, a cosmetic surgeon with the Phoenix Skin Medical Surgical Group. “Maybe they are new moms or dads, who don’t want to send the wrong message to their baby.”

Laris’ practice is the only practice in the state, one of 16 in the world, that is offering PicoSure. The tattoo-removal procedure was recently approved by the FDA. Laris said it can cut the removal sessions in half with less pain and at a lower price.

The key to its success is that the laser delivers a single pulse of energy in one-trillionth of a second.

“You stack those pulses of energy and you get one trillion pulses in a second. The next fastest laser is 100 times slower,” said Laris.

From these bursts of energy, the ink shatters and is allowed to be “washed away” by the body.