Removal of cosmetic oral mucosal tattoos with Nd:YAG laser—histological and clinical observations

Georgi Tomov, Parvan Voynov, Svitlana Bachurska, Jyuhn H. Ke, Plamen Zagorchev


Background: The cosmetic oral mucosa tattoos occur infrequently but the social stigma that may be associated generally with tattoos is motivating factor for its removal. The development of infrared lasers has revolutionized the ability to remove cosmetic oral tattoo effectively. The wave-length of choice is 1,064 nm but there is no relevant histological data regarding effects of Nd:YAG laser on oral tissues after tattoo removal. The aim of this study is to provide histological evidences and to clarify the healing processes in oral mucosa after tattoo removal with 1,064 nm wavelength laser.
Methods: Five patients with professional black tattoo of inner lip were included in this study. The clinical procedures were performed using 1,064 nm wavelength. Two equal specimens were taken from the treated and non-treated sites for further histological evaluation.
Results: The specimens after the treatment revealed fragmentation of black ink particles up to 1.5 mm below the surface. Mild fibrosis was observed in the superficial submucosal area where collagen fibers replaced the pigment-containing cells altered by the laser. Clinically, the treatment results showed excellent recovery of the oral mucosa. One year later, the laser treated areas were healthy and without esthetical and functional disturbances.
Conclusions: Both histological and clinical results advocated Nd:YAG laser treatment as safe and very effective means of removing cosmetic tattoos on the oral mucosa.