A novel minimally-invasive approach for metal tattoo removal with Er:YAG laser.


Mikami R(1), Mizutani K(1), Nagai S(1)(2), Pavlic V(3)(4), Iwata T(1), Aoki A(1).
Author information:
(1)Department of Periodontology, Graduate school of Medical and Dental Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan.
(2)Nagai Dental Clinic, Tokyo, Japan.
(3)Department of Periodontology and Oral Medicine, Institute of Dentistry, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
(4)Department of Periodontology and Oral Medicine, Medical faculty University of Banja Luka, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


OBJECTIVE: Few effective and established treatment methods can remove gingival metal or amalgam tattoos. With this case series, we aimed to demonstrate the use of a novel minimally invasive technique to remove metal tattoos using an erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Er:YAG) laser. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively collected clinical data from 18 patients who had undergone Er:YAG laser treatment to remove metal tattoos. Minimal gingival ablation using an Er:YAG laser directed towards the pigmented area was performed, which exposed metal debris within the connective tissue that was carefully removed. A dental microscope was employed to identify the metal debris, for accurate irradiation, and to minimize wounding by reducing invasion. Postoperative gingival color and morphology, and visual analog scale as a patient-reported outcome assessing postoperative pain were evaluated. RESULTS: All patients' metal tattoos were removed completely and safely during short procedures. Considerable esthetic improvements and favorable wound healing were achieved with almost no postoperative pain or complications. CONCLUSION: The findings from this case series suggest that this novel minimally invasive therapy for metal tattoo removal that involved the Er:YAG laser is effective and safe, is associated with successful outcomes, and contributes greatly to patients' esthetic satisfaction. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Metal tattoo removal using an Er:YAG laser safely and successfully improved gingival esthetics. This novel technique is much simpler and less invasive than conventional periodontal plastic surgery, and it may be more reliable regarding esthetic gingival improvements as it is associated with favorable wound healing, and it could offer significant benefits to patients by alleviating physical and mental stresses via reduced chair time and postoperative pain.