Stuart Yellin hopes a new kind of laser treatment will be able to do what previous devices have not-- completely remove his 11-year-old barbed wire tattoo.
"I got it at the spur on the moment with a cousin at the same time, and it started bleeding down my arm in streaks," he said. "I hated it."
Yellin says typical lasers stopped working on his tattoo. It was still visible after 27 standard treatments to remove it.
But now, after just three monthly treatments with the Picosure laser, his tattoo is fading.
"It's the first new breakthrough for tattoo treatment in about 20 years," said Dr. Gary Lask, the director of dermatologic surgery at UCLA.
Lask says a faster pulse rate allows the device to remove tattoos quicker.
"That laser fires at a trillionth of a second," he explained. "By doing that you're getting a more intense reaction... that destroys the tattoo particles."
Fewer treatments are needed, but it still comes at a price. The Picosure costs about $600 a session; that's double the prices of typical lasers.
Yellin, 55, says getting his tattoo originally cost him $250. But getting rid of it has been much more expensive.
"Going on ten grand—ten-thousand dollars!" he said.
But after a few more treatments, Yellin hopes his tattoo will finally be a faded memory.
The Picosure treatments are generally spaced about a month and a half apart to allow the impacts of the laser to continue working on the skin. Possible side effects can include temporary scabbing and blistering.
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