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Tattoo Removal FAQs

Insurance Coverage:

Medical Insurance generally doesn’t pay for tattoo removal surgery because of its aesthetic and cosmetic nature.


The majority of the time, laser resurfacing procedures will fall under the cosmetic procedure category and not be covered by HMO & PPO insurance providers. If, however, the treatment is deemed “medically necessary,” your insurance provider will cover the procedure. The following situations would make it more likely your insurance provider will cover the expenses of the procedure:

1. Disruption of Lifestyle: The daily lifestyle of the patient is disrupted significantly by their tattoo.

2. Pain: A patient is experiencing pain as the result of their tattoo.

3. Complications: A patient suffers from complications such as infection due to their tattoo.

4. Traumatic Tattoos. Scars as a result of an accident or injury.


Medicare generally does not reimburse their clients for tattoo removal procedures. For further details, you will need to contact your facility to make sure if the treatment may be covered.


There is pain associated with laser removal, but the pain is often less than compared to other removal techniques. Most patients have described the pain as a burning or stinging sensation. Applying numbing cream or using local anesthetic can be used to minimize the pain. After the procedure, most patients experience a “sunburn” experience for several weeks. Some may experience bruising and bleeding is not uncommon with deeper tattoos.

How long does laser tattoo removal take?

The number of sessions depends on multiple factors such as the size of the tattoo, age, colors, your skin type, and your healing process.

The actual session usually take anywhere from a few minutes to 2 hours. The results are not immediate, but tattoos tend to fade over a series of weeks to months.

Most patients schedule sessions on a monthly basis and most tattoos require 4-12 sessions. You must allow at least a month between treatments which makes laser tattoo removal a several month commitment. A consulation with a physician will give you a more accurate timeline for your individual tattoo.

What is the success rate of laser tattoo removal?

Laser removal has an excellent track record; however, no practice can guarantee success. Each tattoo is different and success depends on factors such as the colors involved, age, and whether the tattoo was professionally done.

Laser treatment is most effective on blue, black and red inks. Green and yellow are the most difficult to break down.

What are the risks involved with laser removal?

The laser removal procedure has proved to be relatively safe with most tattoos being removed with little or no scarring. The risk of infection is also extremely low if you follow the procedures after treatment.

Another risk is that your skin may become hardened or rough, and may become lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.

How much does laser removal cost?

Tattoo Removal surgery is much more expensive than the cost of applying a tattoo. Again, the cost depends on the size, color, and complexity of the tattoo. As a rule of thumb, the cost starts around $100-$150 per square inch per treatment. Please consult with a clinic to find out a more exact figure for your tattoo.

Why laser surgery?

Laser surgery is the method of choice for being gentler and more than the previous forms of removal. This method also significantly lowers chance of scarring.

How does laser surgery work?

Laser tattoo removal is used to target and destroy the tattoo without damaging the tissue, which decreases the chance for scarring. Lasers work in different wavelengths and pulse durations to absorb specific colors. Physicians choose a combination to target the depth and color of a particular tattoo.

At the start of the procedure, the doctor will cleanse the area on and around the tattoo to remove oils on the skin. During the procedure, you’ll feel intense emissions of light penetrate the tattooed area and hear noise as the laser does its work, both from the machine itself and from the fans that operate continuously to reduce heat in the room and clean the air.

What to expect from Tattoo Removal Surgery:

Most patients are satisfied with the results they have achieved through laser treatment. It is important to remember that your skin will never look as it did before you had the tattoo, even though the tattooed pigment has been removed.

Other Information

Several additional factors can affect the long-term outcome of your treatment. Older tattoos are easier to remove than newer ones; tattoos applied by amateurs are easier to remove than those applied by professionals. Certain pigments are easier to remove, with fluorescent colors being the least responsive to treatment. The type of ink used may also affect the results, since some inks create a paradoxical reaction, causing the skin to become darker instead of lighter. Your physician can advise you on what to expect based on your particular tattoo.

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