High speed ink aggregates are ejected from tattoos during Q‐switched Nd:YAG laser treatments

by Science Editor

This article looks at how tattoo pigment looks to be ejected from the skin at high enough speed to embed it in glass slides during tattoo laser tattoo removal.

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High speed ink aggregates are ejected from tattoos during Q-switched Nd:YAG laser treatments.

Abstract: Introduction
Dark material has been observed embedded within glass slides following Q‐switched Nd:YAG laser treatment of tattoos. It appears that these fragments are ejected at high speed from the skin during the treatment.
Industry Significance Rating:

Medium - Industry wide monitoring is recommended.


Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. 2018 Mar 25.

Authors: Michael J. Murphy BSc.
Links:  Article Link Link to Publisher Search Google
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The author describes the finding of particles "ranging in size between 12μm to 0.5mm" comprised of aggregates of dark fragmented material which where presumed to be tattoo particles ejected from the skin during laser tattoo removal. Particles were ejected with sufficient force for them to embed into glass slides "approximately 0.2 and 1mm deep in the glass". The author emphasises that these small particles may be ejected from the skin at thousands of meters per second and "laser operators may be subjected to these high-speed aggregates without their knowledge".

The report not only sheds light on OH&S risks that laser operators may be subjected to but also indicates that high energy expulsion may account for a percentage of pigment loss during laser removal.


Tattoo removal laser operators should review their requirements for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with reference to the above article.


Scientific Report, laser, tattoo removal, particles, occupational health & safety, expulsion


The Education Team here at CTshop.com.au keeps a close eye on the scientific and medical literature for new publications relating to cosmetic and medical tattooing that may be of interest to our customers. The intent is to alert industry members to important publications within the literature to expand the knowledge base particularly in relation to high impact reports.

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