A new study by Mass General researchers Drs. Rox Anderson, Avram and Izikson have shown two patients who’ve had an immunologic reaction following laser tattoo removal. There have been reports of patients who are undergoing an allergic reaction to a tattoo ink who, upon receiving laser tattoo removal, have gone into full body anaphylactic shock. This may potentially be life threatening in some cases.
This is, however, rare. The purpose of the study done by Anderson et al was to study the potential immunologic reactions following laser tattoo removal.
As laser tattoo removal is one of most commonly used indications for medical lasers the concern is obvious, will patients be at risk for some unwanted complication due to the inks?
Anderson et al report that:
Two patients developed transient immunoreactivity that presented as regional lymphadenopathy after laser tattoo removal of professional black and blue-green tattoos. These reactions resolved without any complications.
CONCLUSIONS: Tattoo pigments released or modified by laser therapy may trigger transient immunoreactivity in susceptible individuals.
Clearly there is some potential complication to laser assisted tattoo removal, but given how often it is performed with few reported complications, the risk is low.