Surgical Tattoo Removal

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in surgical tattoo removal by excision. I was asked to provide a picture of the tattoo I wish to have excised. (I’m having to go this route since laser will take too long before my new job will be starting).  I do realize that there will be a scar created in this process and I’m absolutely fine with that.  As you can see, the tattoo is on my hand, and the skin there is not taunt as it is on many others, so I’m hoping that will work out in my favor.
Thank you so much for looking into this and I look forward to talking with you about this tattoo removal procedure.

A: The surgical tattoo removal approach to your dorsal hand tattoo would not be excision and linear closure. It is simply too big to be done that way, there is not that much loose skin on the back of the hand…or just about anywhere on the body for that matter. For a single-stage surgical approach the tattoo could be excised completely and skin grafted. Skin grafts on the back of the hand take and heal very well. It will create a patch-like appearance since there will always be some color mismatch between the skin color on the back of the hand and the donor site. (usually the outer thigh) But as long as the ‘patch’ is better subjectively than the tattoo then this would be a favorable trade-off.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana