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Laser Tattoo Removal


The Spectra™ tattoo removal laser can target a wide variety of ink colors, including but not limited to black, red, green, blue and orange.  This is accomplished by the laser beam breaking up the ink into small particles that are absorbed through your body’s immune system. The number of treatments required for optimal results depends on the size, location, depth and color of the tattoo. The treatments are repeated every 6 - 8 weeks until the removal is complete.

  • Quick and affordable treatments.
  • No scarring


Laser Tattoo Removal FAQ

How Does A Laser Remove A Tattoo?

Lasers work by directing energy toward ink in the skin with highly concentrated color filtered light beams. These laser beams break up ink particles into tiny fragments which are later cleared up by the body naturally. This process of fragmenting the ink particles requires numerous sessions depending on the depth of the ink level. The procedure is bloodless and no incisions are made. The laser selectively targets the pigment of the tattoo without damaging the surrounding skin. With deeper penetration of the skin and multiple sessions however, the heat generated by the lasers may cause some discomfort.


What Kind Of Laser Is Used?

We use the Lutronic Spectra Tattoo Removal Laser, a state-of-the-art Q-switch Laser with four wavelengths (1064, 532, 585, 650 nm).  The Q-Switched Laser has become the gold standard treatment for across all colors of tattoo removal. By creating a very short high energy pulse, the tattoo ink is thermo-acoustically broken up into minute particles that the body can readily absorb.   As the laser attacks the tattoo, a light grey "frosting" appears on the tattoo, a signal that the appropriate energy was applied and the removal process will begin.


Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Unfortunately, tattoos are uncomfortable to have placed on the skin and they are just as uncomfortable when they are removed. To minimize the discomfort, the physician will recommend taking Motrin a few hours before the procedure.


Can Any Tattoo Be Removed?

No, not every tattoo can be removed completely, but the majority can be. Tattoos are meant to be permanent and with the newest ink technologies and advancement in tattooing skills, body art is even harder to remove. With any technology, there is a chance for residual effects with some tattoo removal cases.


What Determines The Success Of Tattoo Removal?

Complete removal of a tattoo is based on several things. The size, location, application, age, and ink color of the tattoo all factor in, as well as the health of the patient and thus their body's ability to heal. Newer tattoos are generally more difficult to remove.


Who Is A Candidate For Laser Tattoo Removal?

Individuals with fair skin and superficially placed tattoos on the arms, chest, buttocks or legs are the best candidates. Tattoos on dark skinned individuals, or tattoos on the ankles or fingers, areas where there is less body fat, are the most difficult to treat and results are more variable. A thorough discussion with Dr. Kate Shattenkirk can better determine the potential success rate of laser tattoo removal for any given tattoo and skin type. 


How Often Can I Get Treatments?

Typically, tattoo removal is repeated every 6-8 weeks depending on how well the skin heals from the treatment.  If you need a tattoo removed quicker, we offer the R20 procedure for most skin types.  R20 tattoo removal uses the same Q-switch style laser as traditional tattoo removal procedures but utilizes up to 4 treatments in one session separated by a rest for 20 minutes between treatments to allow the nitrogen bubbles to dissipate before the next treatment is applied. The "R" in R20 stands for repeating. The result is fewer visits to the tattoo removal clinic and much faster fading of the tattoo ink.


How Much Does It Cost?

The rule with laser surgery is truly “you get what you pay for”.  If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  Dr. Kate Shattenkirk performs every tattoo removal.  The variety of techniques used to apply tattoos is staggering; the source of the ink, where onthe body the tattoo is applied, colors and designs used, even the depth into the skin canvary dramatically.  Thus Dr. Kate Shattenkirk takes into account that every person and every tattoo is unique.  Pricing varies depending upon ink concentration, size and complexity.We offer free in-person consultations with Dr. Kate Shattenkirk.  If you are unavailable for an office consultation, you can email a picture of your tattoo, age of the tattoo, location of the tattoo (if not obvious from picture) and your phone number/best time to call to jstopher@spwhc.com. 


When Can I Get Started?

We perform tattoo removal during our normal business hours: Monday – Thursday, 8 am - 6pm (late appointments also available with prior approval). 


About Dr. Kate Shattenkirk

• Over 14 years of extensive laser treatment experience.

• Nationally & Internationally recognized instructor and lecturer regarding multiple laser therapy techniques.

• Over 9 years of Laser Tattoo removal experience with outstanding results and excellent patient satisfaction.

• Was a Board Certified Family Physician for 21 years and has been a Fellow Member of the American Society of Laser Medicine & Surgery since 2006. 

• Certified training physician to credential other health care providers in the operation of 5 Candela Lasers.


Pre-Treatment Instructions

Avoid excessive sun exposure for approximately one week prior to your treatment.  Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to protect your skin.  If you are spray-tanned, please exfoliate to help remove the tanning product in the treatment areas.If you have a history of cold sores, be sure that Southern Pines Aesthetics & Laser Institute is notified in advance of scheduling your treatment.  Dr. Kate Shattenkirk will prescribe an anti-viral medication for you prior to your treatment if you have tattoo ink near your mouth area.Stop applying any “irritating” skin products at least one day prior to treatment.Arrive on time for your laser treatment with clean skin.  If treating the face:  Female patients should not wear any makeup/mascara, lotions, powders or perfumes on or around the areas being treated.  Male patients can shave the morning of their treatment but should not apply lotions or aftershave on or around the areas being treated.Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing and shoes.



When I was a young man I got a tattoo I thought was cool.  Years later, I realized how unprofessional it appeared.  For years I thought of having it removed, but after eight years in the military old Army tattoo policies started to be enforced once again.  The Army forbids tattoos on hands and neck, basically anywhere it can be seen in the Army Service Uniform (ASU).  Even though I was grandfathered in, a tattoo on the hand still could possibly hinder my career as professional appearance is of extreme importance inthe military.  This, of course, is as it should be since very soldier in the military represents more than just themselves, we present the United States of America.So I knew I needed to start looking into getting the tattoo on my hand removed.  I went to several tattoo places and none of them performed tattoo removals.  Many of them mentioned a place that performed laser treatment but none of them could tell me the name or phone number of the place until I came to Bills Tattoo World.  Here they gave me a card for the Southern Pines Aesthetics & Laser Institute.  I called, made an appointment and since my tattoo has been removed I was selected for promotion.  Now I know the tattoo removal wasn’t the total basis of my selection, although I know that nothaving a tattoo on my hand definitely helped.

Jim M.  5/21/2013

In September of 2009, I decided to have a tattoo placed above my right ankle.  It was of medium size and I was pleased with the outcome.  However in the fall of 2010, I noticedsome itching and redness around my tattoo, accompanied with some raised areas.  I went to my dermatologist and was told it was probably an allergy to the red dye and wasgiven some creams- none of which worked.  After several more medications and doctor’s visits, the redness kept becoming larger and I actually had open wounds that drained within the tattoo.   Being a Nurse Practitioner, I was concerned about the chronic infection and the horrible appearance of my leg, since the infection completely obliterated the tattoo.   I started doing research on my own and read where some of the dyes used by tattoo artists contained nickel, and unfortunately I am highly allergic to this metal.  I told my dermatologist about this finding and she encouraged me to have the tattoo removed.


Knowing of Dr. Kate’s excellent reputation, I made an appointment to see her and her concern, which had been lacking from my other medical providers, was uplifting and reassuring.  She immediately started the process of the removal and monitored my progress closely.  I have been extremely pleased with the results.    I highly recommend her for her competency, professionalism and dedication.

Jerri P.  Tattoo Removal Testimonial – January 15, 2013