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In the US, about 30% of the people have tattoos. But sometimes, there are tattoos that we’d rather have removed. Whatever the reason, removing a tattoo can be hard. Tattoos are ink designs that are marked into your skin permanently.

However, there are a lot of tattoo removal options that you can choose from, so you won’t be stuck having unwanted tattoos. You can choose from laser, dermabrasion, and excision. The best yet invasive option is the tattoo removal surgery or excision.

A tattoo removal surgery or the surgical excision of tattoos are procedures that can actually remove your problems with unwanted tattoos.

Tattoo Removal Surgery Procedure

At a single session, your tattoo can be removed, and your skin will be stitched together with surgical excision. This tattoo removal method is probably the quickest and simplest method. The linear scar will fade away after about eight months from the day of the operation.

By: Dr. Tattoff

Here are some surgical techniques to remove your tattoo:

grayscale photo of woman covering face with her hands

Single Operation

The number of tattoo removal sessions depends on the size and location of your tattoo. This procedure may cut around the tattoo design and draw the cut on skin edges using stitches. This technique is suitable for tattoos that are a few centimeters wide and positioned far from your joints.

Staged Tattoo Removal Surgery

When you remove the entire tattoo, it may leave a gap on your skin which isn’t stitched together quickly. In this case, you may go through a staged tattoo removal surgery. This surgery will only remove a sufficient amount of the tattoo to make way for stitching of the wound. A few months later, the wound will probably heal, and a new tattoo removal surgery can be done.

Skin Grafting

Skin Grafting is a procedure you can choose instead of the staged surgery. This surgery will take another area of your body to fill in the gap of the excision site which can’t be stitched together. Unlike the staged surgery, skin grafting is a single operation. This method may leave a scar on the body on where the skin graft is taken from.

How much does a tattoo removal surgery costs?

The total cost of the surgical excision of a tattoo depends on a lot of factors. It could range from $100-$400 or maybe more. It could depend on:

  • Type of procedure
  • Size of the tattoo
  • Anesthesia
  • Surgeon’s fee (may differ, based on their experience)
  • Hospital facility costs
  • Medical tests
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Medications

Who is an ideal candidate for tattoo removal surgery?

The tattoo removal surgery is for those people who wish to remove their previous tattoos. It may be because:

  • They’ve outgrown the reason on why they have the tattoo
  • Starting a new job
  • Unhappy about the result of their tattoo

These are some possible reasons why a person with a tattoo would want his or her tattoo removed. You also have to keep realistic expectations and have a firm decision to have your tattoo removed.

How do you choose your cosmetic surgeon?

A tattoo removal surgery must be done by a certified and expert cosmetic surgeon to accomplish the best results. An unqualified practitioner may lead to surgical complications and unsatisfying results. Keep these factors in mind when choosing a surgeon for your tattoo removal surgery.

  • Certification and Memberships. First of all, make sure that a surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Memberships may not be necessary, but it could be a great indication that your surgeon is well-skilled.
  • Experience. A surgeon’s experience can tell well if he can give you a safe and satisfying tattoo removal surgery.
  • Reputation. One way to find an excellent plastic surgeon is by seeking a recommendation. If you know someone who went through a tattoo removal surgery, ask them. Check the doctor’s record for any malpractice complaints. This information may be made public by state medical boards.

How do you prepare for the procedure?

Before the surgery, you need to have an initial consultation with your surgeon. Your doctor will review your medical history and may conduct a physical exam. This is your chance to know more about the procedure. You and your doctor will also discuss the risks and the desired results of the procedure.

Your plastic surgeon will provide you pre-operative instructions that you have to follow to avoid complications.

What do you do for aftercare?

After the surgery, you might feel that your skin is sunburned and tightened. For aftercare, your doctor may prescribe a moisturizing lotion that’ll help ease the uneasiness that you may feel. You’ll be advised not to stay under the sun for too long, or apply a sunscreen with high SPF. The lotion and sunscreen will help avoid excessive scarring.

For continued recovery, you may need to apply an ice pack on the area. There may be antibiotics that you’d have to take to avoid infection.


Compared to other tattoo removal procedures, surgical excision may have better results, especially if you have big tattoos. You’ll be able to get rid of your unwanted tattoo without the possible allergic reactions from tattoo pigments that you might get from laser procedures.

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