Whether it’s the name of an old lover across your wrist, a college obsession with a punk rock band made manifest on your thigh or a cheesy butterfly over your left shoulder, many adults in the Lowcountry are choosing to erase the past and start fresh. And thanks to the new PicoSure laser and the guiding hand of Tonya Fowlkes, medical aesthetician at Lowcountry Plastic Surgery, the results are better than ever.
Not so long ago, however, people with tattoos were stuck with their skin art. And even when Q-Switch, the treatment before PicoSure, emerged on the tattoo market, removal was still not perfect.
“The main difference between the Pico and the Q-Switch is the speed,” remarked Fowlkes. “While the Q-Switch works on the nanosecond, the PicoSure works on a picosecond, a unit of time that is literally one-trillionth of a second.”
In order to digest this information, Fowlkes gave me the following analogy: one picosecond is to one second as one second is to 31,700 years!
Time and other abstract ideas aside, the PicoSure laser brings great news for Lowcountry Plastic Surgery patients in search of safe, effective tattoo removal. Actually, updated technology is one of the reasons clients return to the practice, owned by Mount Pleasant resident Dr. Jack Hensel. And the knowledge that Dr Hensel’s team members are experienced with using new technology is important as well.
“With any new machine we purchase here, the staff receives full training on it,” confirmed Fowlkes.
According to Fowlkes, the speed of the laser means that the ink inside your skin can be broken up into no more than dust, making it easier for your body to dispose of through the lymph nodes. Plus, the number of treatments patients must receive to get rid of their tattoo is typically fewer.
“With the PicoSure, the patients need fewer treatments than before, the machine moves much faster and the recovery time is significantly less,” Fowlkes explained.
Though the number of treatments necessary for total tattoo removal varies for each patient – Fowlkes generally tells clients between four and eight sessions, but eight is not necessarily a guarantee – the recovery process is undoubtedly easier than with earlier technology. Older lasers, such as the “yag” laser, were known to cause weeks of painful blistering, making it necessary to cover up with bandages and stay out of sunlight.
“With the Pico, after the draining process, the area will soon dry out and scab over,” Fowlkes said. “And after the scab is there, you can let the fresh air assist in healing.”
Those who are interested in learning more about PicoSure can visit Lowcountry Plastic Surgery for a free consultation, which includes a thorough education on the process. Of course, most patients are satisfied with their results, thus leaving their 18-year-old mishaps in the PicoSure dust.
“I’m taking the names of ex-lovers off of clients’ fingers,” Fowlkes admitted with a chuckle. “There’s a lot of tattoo regret out there, but, fortunately, we now have options.”
Lowcountry Plastic Surgery is located at 1205 Two Island Court, Suite 203, in Mount Pleasant. To learn more, visit www.lowcountryplasticsurgery.com or call 843-971-2860.
Article by Denise K. James
Photo courtesy of Lowcountry Plastic Surgery