Skip to content
|Surgical Excision Tattoo Removal|
Cosmetic surgery to remove tattooed skin
If, for whatever reason, you have a tattoo that you no longer wish to be on your body, there is a method that can remove the tattooed skin permanently – surgical excision. Surgical excision tattoo removal involves using a scalpel or similar to remove the tattooed area of skin and then stitching the resulting gap closed.
Ever since the practice of tattooing began in ancient Egypt and spread as their empire expanded, people have sought methods of tattoo removal. The specific reasons for tattoo removal vary from person to person. Some are concerned about the effect of their tattoos on their chances of employment, others have aesthetic concerns, such as tattoos that have become faded or stretched. In many cases, tattoos are simply regretted and their owners no longer want them on their body.
Surgical excision tattoo removal is particularly suited to dealing with smaller tattoos, though it can still be used on larger ones. “When I had a 3cm high Winnie The Pooh tattooed on my right shoulder I thought it was cute and a way of catching the guy’s eyes,” said one woman, now in her 30s. “However, once I’d left university and got myself a job, then eventually settled down with a husband and family, the tattoo didn’t seem cute anymore, it seemed rather naff. After discussing it with my doctor and then a plastic surgeon, I underwent surgical tattoo removal. Now all that remains of my tattoo is a small faded scar.”
Undergoing surgical excision tattoo removal
Surgical excision is very effective for the removal of small tattoos, though the surgery will always leave a scar. This, and your overall suitability for surgery, will be discussed during your initial consultation with the surgeon. Also, it is likely that your surgeon will suggest that you protect the tattooed area from the sun for at least 4 weeks prior to surgery to prevent pigmentation problems.
Surgical excision firstly requires an injection of a local aneasthetic to numb the area before surgery takes place. For small tattoos, the tattooed skin is cut out and the edges brought together and sutured. There is minimal bleeding which can easily be controlled with electrocautery, which involves burning the skin to quickly seal it and reduce bleeding. For larger tattoos, the skin is removed and a skin graft from another part of the body is used to cover the area. Skin grafts are usually taken from areas inside the thighs and underarms where scarring will be minimal and largely unseen.
The site of the surgery will be quite tender for a period of time after the procedure, however, the discomfort and the scarring will diminish rapidly. This is largely dependent on the size of the tattoo. The degree of discomfort will also be dependent on where on your body you had the tattoo. As one patient commented after his operation, “As I had to have a small skin graft on my chest, the whole area was very sensitive at first, then gradually returning back to normal as the healing process took place. There was some scarring at first, though this is fading all the time.” As with all cosmetic surgery, it is essential to follow the advice of your practitioner after the procedure. This will make the outcome as successful as possible and reduce the risk of complications
Who should carry out surgical excision tattoo removal?
Only fully trained and qualified surgeons with experience gained in an establishment registered with the Healthcare Commission (in the UK) should perform surgical excision tattoo removal. The cost of the procedure can vary from £100 to thousands of pounds depending on whether it is a small, simple removal involving a couple of stitches, or a major operation involving skin grafts.
Getting a tattoo removed can be expensive, painful, and impose risks that you’ll need to think about. If tattoo removal surgery is something that you are considering, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon. The best way to deal with tattoos and their removal is to avoid getting them in the first place, especially if there is any doubt in your mind that you may not want them later on.
Related Surgical Excision Tattoo Removal Information
Have your say!
If you've had experience with this procedure then why not leave a comment below and share your thoughts and advice with our readers.
One person has commented on this article.
No.1 Mrs Tracy Bristol
I have a small 2 inch long and 1 inch wide tattoo on my stomach. I have 4 laser treatments and have ended up with scarring and the tattoo is still there. I wondered how much it would cost approx to have it surgically removed? Also where would be the nearest clinic to me, i live in Leeds.
Guest User (Unregistered) • 2010-08-22 12:26:49