Med Laser 2016; 5(2): 90-95
Efficacy and Safety of Picosecond-Domain neodymium-Doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Laser Treatment on Various causes of Traumatic Tattoos
Boncheol Leo Goo1 and Sung Bin Cho2,3
1Naeum Dermatology and Aesthetic Clinic, Seoul, Korea, 2Department of Dermatology, International St. Mary’s Hospital, Catholic Kwandong University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea, 3Kangskin Sillim Dermatology Clinic, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence to: Sung Bin Cho, Department of Dermatology, International St. Mary’s Hospital, Catholic Kwandong University College of Medicine, 25 Simgok-ro, Seo-gu, Incheon 22711, Korea, Tel.: +82-32-290-3141, Fax: +82-32-290-3142, E-mail:
Received: August 30, 2016; Accepted: September 9, 2016; Published online: December 30, 2016.
© Korean Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Background and Objectives

Occurring accidentally, traumatic tattoos result from the forceful embedding of foreign bodies, such as graphite, asphalt, petroleum products, sand, metals, glass, gunpowder, or dust, into the skin. Laser therapy is the first-line treatment for the removal of traumatic tattoos. The aim of this case series was to analyze the clinical efficacy and safety of treating traumatic tattoos of various causes with a picosecond-domain, 1,064-nm neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) laser.

Materials and Methods

Upon treatment with the laser, objective clinical improvement in the appearances of the traumatic tattoos was analyzed in nine Korean patients (five men and four women with a mean age of 28.3 ± 11.1 years). Among the subjects, the causes of the traumatic tattoos included abrasion wounds from falls (N = 6), wounds from motor-vehicle accidents (N = 2), and a pencil point puncture (N = 1).


Overall, the mean objective improvement score at one month after the final treatment was 2.4 ± 0.7. Five of the nine (55.6%) patients showed clinical improvement of grade 3. Three (33.3%) patients demonstrated clinical improvement of grade 2. One (11.1%) experienced grade 1 improvement. In addition, traumatic tattoo-associated textural impairments also generally improved after the picosecond-domain, 1,064-nm Nd:YAG laser treatment without the need for additional scar treatments.


The treatment of traumatic tattoos of varying causes in Korean patients with a 1,064-nm, picosecond-domain Nd:YAG laser is effective and safe. Nevertheless, further split-design investigations to compare the therapeutic effects between nanosecond- and picosecond-domain Nd:YAG lasers will be needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords: Laser, Neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet, Pulse duration, Picosecond, Tattoo pigment

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