Colour shift following tattoo removal with Q-switched Nd-YAG laser (1064/532).

Research paper by A H AH Peach, K K Thomas, J J Kenealy

Indexed on: 16 Feb '00Published on: 16 Feb '00Published in: British journal of plastic surgery


Colour shift in tattoo pigment is a recognised complication of laser tattoo treatment. We report our experience over the past 4 years in treating 275 patients, with a total of 323 professional tattoos. Of these, 184 tattoos contained a pigment other than black with 33 displaying a colour shift as a consequence of laser treatment. This adverse effect was recorded with red, yellow, crimson and brown pigments but most frequently with white/flesh pigments. We found brown and white/flesh coloured pigments to be significantly more likely to change colour compared to red and that the chance of certain colours shifting related to the age of the tattoo. We outline our management of this problem and discuss the results of continued treatment.