Tattoo Removal: Laser For All Colors & Skin Types

Do you ever wish you could reach back in time and convince yourself not to get that tattoo? The Zannis Center for Plastic Surgery can help! We have several ways to remove a tattoo, including lasers that can remove all colors (even green). We frequently treat patients with all types of tattoos on every part of the body. If you would like a tattoo faded or permanently removed with minimal scarring, come see us to discuss your treatment options. Most of the time the procedure can be done the same day! Whether you live here in the New Bern, NC area or travel from Jacksonville, Havelock, or Morehead City, Zannis is your ideal tattoo removal specialist.

Zannis Plastic Surgery - New Bern, NC

Major Types of Tattoo Removal

At Zannis, we offer three major treatment methods for tattoo removal, depending upon the patient’s skin and the size, coloration, age, and nature of their tattoo. We’ll use a personal consultation to guide you through the options and help you select the ideal technique for your tattoo removal treatment, but will have at least one method for 100% complete tattoo removal.

1. Laser Tattoo Removal

Advanced precision laser technology is a proven technique for fading and virtually eliminating the appearance of many types of tattoos. Targeted laser lights help break down tattoo pigments, allowing the body’s natural immune system response to process the ink and remove it from the skin. Laser treatments often require multiple sessions (average 5-6) over the course of many weeks, so it’s not a fast option, but it is relatively non-invasive and a great choice for most tattoos. Only our Cutera Enlighten tattoo offers three wavelengths and pico/nanotechnology for removal of ALL ink colors on ALL skin types. See below for more information on Enlighten technology.

2. Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is a very deep form of skin exfoliation using a high-speed brush or wheel to remove layers of the skin until the tattoo ink-stained layers are reached and can be removed. Dermabrasion is best for small tattoos without complex colors or shading. Because it can result in skin rawness and scarring in some cases, we may not recommend dermabrasion for larger tattoos or in highly visible areas of the body.

3. Full Excision

Tattoo excision is the full, surgical removal of tattooed skin. This is a precise method that offers 100% complete removal of tattoo ink from the skin using a precision scalpel. This is the most invasive but also the quickest tattoo removal technique, but it is not possible for larger tattoos.

Zannis Plastic Surgery - New Bern, NC

About Enlighten™ Laser Tattoo Removal

Zannis Plastic Surgery is the FIRST and ONLY in Eastern North Carolina to offer the world’s first —and only— FDA approved triple-wavelength laser system for tattoo removal – the Enlighten™! The three wavelengths provide the most effective treatment available, which also means better clearance of the tattoo with faster and fewer treatments needed

Enlighten™ Works on all skin types and all ink colors!

Tattoos that were once difficult to treat in the past with older technology now have a much higher chance of removal or lightening with The Enlighten. The Enlighten laser works by breaking up the tattoo ink into tiny pieces utilizing both picosecond AND nanosecond technology, which allows your body’s immune system to remove it over time.

Three to six sessions may be required depending on the depth of the tattoo, the age of the tattoo, and the diversity of ink colors. This is half the amount of treatments needed with other laser tattoo removal devices.

Zannis Plastic Surgery - New Bern, NC

Laser Tattoo Removal FAQs:

Q. Can Enlighten be used on all skin types?

Yes, Enlighten is safe for all skin types. Individuals who are pregnant, on blood thinners or undergoing skin cancer treatment in the area of the tattoo do not qualify to have laser tattoo removal.

Q. How does Enlighten tattoo removal compare to Picosure and other laser tattoo removal?

Most laser tattoo removal devices have multiple limitations:

  • They aren’t safe for ALL skin types (Picosure) They don’t get ALL colors (most all other devices)
  • They don’t have pico technology (most devices) which cause a plateau in removal
  • They don’t have Q-switched technology (Picosure) which don’t remove black well
  • They don’t have a device that has both pico AND Q-switched (only Enlighten has both)
  • They go too superficial and can have serious side effects (Picosure)
  • They take on average 10-15, even 20 sessions (Enlighten is 3-6 sessions on average)

Q. If my tattoo has plateaued with other laser tattoo removal, can Enlighten lift it?

Yes. Enlighten is the one laser to lift ink after a plateau (where you no longer see results from other devices including Picosure).

Q. How many Enlighten laser treatments will it take to remove my tattoo?

Generally, Zannis Plastic Surgery patients will receive 3-6 treatments. However, the number of treatments depends on the amount, type of ink used, and the depth of the ink in the skin, as well as the location of the tattoo. Black ink usually fades the quickest out of multi-colored designs. There are no guarantees as to how many treatments you will need or how much lightening you will see with each treatment, but you can expect to see lightening with each treatment.

Q. How often should my tattoo be treated?

Treatments are spaced 6-8 weeks apart, depending on your skin type and where you are in your treatment cycle.

Q. Does the Enlighten tattoo removal laser hurt?

Most people describe the treatment as hot fast drops splattering with the pulse of the laser. Unlike the hours it takes to receive a tattoo, a 3-inch tattoo laser removal treatment time is less than 5 minutes. A topical anesthetic is applied prior to treatment for added comfort, and there is no pain after.

Q. Is Enlighten laser safe? Are there side effects?

Enlighten is an FDA-approved laser designed to provide a safe and comfortable procedure. Side effects can include blisters, pinpoint bleeding, hyper or hypopigmentation, texture changes, and possible infection or scarring.

Q. Can Enlighten laser remove cosmetic tattoos as well?

The enlighten is safe to treat the eyebrows and lip liner. It cannot be used to remove eyeliner tattoos because of the proximity to the eye.

Q. When will I start seeing results from Enlighten laser tattoo removal?

Results vary from person-to-person depending on the tattoo treated, but lightning will be seen each visit. Black, red, orange, yellow and green ink colors all respond well to treatment. Lighter color tattoos such as purple, teal and light pink are harder to treat, but with the triple wavelength enlighten, even those can be completely removed.

Q. How much does Enlighten tattoo removal cost?

The cost varies based on the size of the tattoo, and the number of treatments needed. Other factors determining the number of treatments needed include the color of the ink, type of ink, and the depth of a tattoo. High quality, professional tattoos may require more treatments since there is more ink and it reaches deeper in the skin. You may choose to pay per session or purchase a “Treat to Complete” package at the outset where you receive as many sessions as necessary to fully complete tattoo removal (maximum of 12 sessions).

Q. What Should I do to care for my tattoo after an Enlighten treatment?

In the first 24 hours, you will want to apply ice periodically. You need to ensure the area is not rubbed or scratched. You will also need to rest and elevate the treated area, as well as limit activities. Avoid any soaking of the area including steam rooms, saunas, swimming pools, and pedicure bowls until fully healed. Keep the tattoo moist with balm, and avoid scratching or rubbing the tattoo. After 24 hours, and until the tattoo area is healed, you can resume all activities except swimming. Avoid sun exposure and tanning beds at all times during your treatment course and in general in the area 4 weeks pre/post-treatment. Additional instructions will be given at your session.

If you’re thinking about removing one or more tattoos from your skin, Zannis is your source for expert assistance and experienced tattoo removal! All you have to do get started is call us at (252) 633-1197 or contact us today, and we’ll schedule your personal consultation. Our tattoo removal experts will answer your questions, evaluate your skin and your tattoos, and help you determine the best technique for effective removal.


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Curious to see results from previous procedures? Visit our photo gallery to view Before & After shots of past patients that Dr. Zannis and his team have helped.

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Fly-In Program

Patients from across the country and around the world fly-in for the experience of Dr. Zannis. Enjoy a retreat to North Carolina’s Crystal Coast as you recuperate in comfort and privacy. Relax and let us pamper you on your makeover vacation. We have perfected the protocol for treating out-of-town patients, including a visit to our 5-star medspa and an overnight stay at one of historic New Bern’s finest bed & breakfasts.

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If you are interested in financing your procedure, the Zannis Center for Plastic Surgery offers financing through Prosper Healthcare Lending and CareCredit.

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