Q-switched lasers can destroy ink-filled (tattooed) cells by providing high levels of energy over very brief periods of time.
During treatment, Q-switched lasers are used specifically to target and microscopically destroy the pigment of the tattoo ink. Such therapy requires a series of treatments (often 5 to 10, or more). Tattoos are lightened, but rarely completely removed. Using a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, black, red, and other dark pigment tattoos can be treated. Yellow, blue, and green tattoos are not lightened efficiently with this type of laser.