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PicoSure Frequently Asked Questions

What is PicoSure™?
PicoSure is the world’s safest and most effective laser specifically designed to treat tattoos and pigmented (brown) spots. This breakthrough in laser technology, recently introduced after nearly a decade in development, delivers ultra-short pulse bursts of energy to the skin in trillionths of a second, a 100 times shorter than technology available in most lasers. It enables unmatched impact for better dissolving of tattoos and reduction of pigmented skin spots after fewer treatments. Fortson Dermatology & Skincare Center is one of the first centers in the country and the only location in Alaska to offer tattoo and brown spot removal with the FDA-approved PicoSure laser.

PicoSure more rapidly dissolves almost all tattoos, especially blue, green and black inks which have been difficult to remove by other methods. It also can be used effectively on failed removal attempts. Traditional lasers produce a fraction of the power as the PicoSure, requiring more treatments and producing less than optimal results. With a conventional laser, it is often necessary to have 10 to 12 treatments, scheduled a month apart, to reduce the appearance of the tattoo. With the PicoSure, the intensive energy may give the same results in only 2 to 4 visits.

The PicoSure also effectively treats brown spots on skin, which are caused when skin cells produce too much melanin in one area. Though some skin spots are present at birth, most develop with sun exposure or age. They can range from light brown such as freckles, birthmarks and sun spots, to dark brown spots if located deeper in the skin. The ability of the PicoSure laser pulses to break up the spot, without damaging surrounding areas or forming rough edges, has proven to be most effective for these types of treatments.

Why is the PicoSure laser more effective than conventional lasers?
It is called Pico because the energy is delivered in pico bursts, a higher pulse energy than traditional lasers. This means that the technology more effectively breaks up the ink or spot into particles more quickly than other lasers.

  • Treatments using a Pico laser are more comfortable

  • Fewer treatments are required

  • The skin’s recovery time is shorter

  • It provides more thorough results as compared to existing lasers, with greater effectiveness on colors that are difficult to remove (for example, blue, green, purple and black inks

Bottomline, PicoSure improves the results of skin spot or removal of a tattoo in a shorter period of time.

How does it work?
Traditional lasers rely on delivering heat to the pigment and surrounding tissue, resulting in only partial breakdown of difficult colors. PicoSure’s ultra-short pulse creates an intense impact, using patented technology, to shatter the spot or ink into tiny particles which are then swept away easily by the body’s immune system. This allows for better dissolving of the spot or ink with fewer treatments, without the worry of injury to the surrounding skin.

About tattoo removal
Studies show that more than 45 million Americans have a tattoo. More than 20% of those regret having it, yet only about 11% of people actually get the tattoo removed. The reasons include misperceptions that:

  • tattoo removal will hurt

  • it is expensive

  • that removal will leave a scar

In reality, those reasons are misperceptions.

Studies show that the majority of tattoos treated with the PicoSure achieved greater than 75% clearance of blue and/or green pigment after only a single treatment, with greater than two-thirds of those approaching closer to 100% clearance. This is in comparison to multiple treatments with other systems. However, the number of treatments and amount of elimination varies with type of tattoo, ink used and individual skin type. In any case, PicoSure provides the most effective results available in the least amount of time.

PicoSure laser treatments are performed with local anesthesia for most comfort and are supervised by a board-certified dermatologist at the Fortson Center. A no-cost consultation by a highly trained and credentialed skin specialist precedes your first PicoSure treatment to ensure that this treatment is right for your skin and is the most effective method for your situation. You can have your first PicoSure treatment immediately following your consultation if it is the right treatment for you. If you will have a brown spot treated, this also ensures peace of mind that the spot is not melanoma or other skin disease for which treatment is required. Jayne Fortson, MD, is Alaska’s most highly credentialed skin care specialist and the state’s only physician board certified in both dermatology and dermatopathology (specialty in diseases of the skin).

Treatment with traditional lasers sometimes has a side effect of spotting or scarring, based on the skin and the tattoo or the pigment spot. The PicoSure significantly reduces these risks and is approved by the FDA for these types of treatments. With your sessions being supervised by a highly-experienced dermatologist, any potential risks for your skin will be medically assessed throughout your treatment, a consideration important with laser treatment. This will also ensure there are not other skin conditions that need attention. These are among the many benefits you will receive with your laser treatment at Fortson Dermatology & Skincare Center.

Brown Spots
Spots can appear on the skin for a variety reasons. Also known as hyper-pigmentation or age spots, these dark marks usually appear on areas that receive frequent exposure to sunlight and are typically associated with the aging process. Many people seek ways to reduce the appearance of these brown spots, especially when they appear in highly visible areas such as the face or hands. Recent advances in laser technology with PicoSure have made the removal of brown spots on the skin easy.

Laser procedures have proven to be among the safest and most effective methods of removing brown spots. This extremely precise and controlled technology is a far better choice than the use of creams or locations to remove areas of hyper-pigmentation. Treatment for brown skin spots is straightforward and effective with laser technology. Areas of the skin that are more darkly pigmented than the skin around them attract the laser’s energy. As the laser energy enters the layers of the skin that contain the spot, the pigmentation will be broken up and eventually absorbed through the body’s natural healing processes. The number of treatments required to erase a brown skin spot will depend upon your unique skin composition. After the session, the spot will darken as the skin heals and form a scab as the skin heals, subsequently revealing fresh smooth skin.

PicoSure represents a major advancement in laser technology and in comparison to more traditional lasers, PicoSure enables physicians to remove brown spots from the skin with far fewer treatments.

For any skin spot, it is very important to have it checked first by a licensed dermatologist, a physician whose specialty is in skin, to ensure you are receiving the right treatment, to ensure your skin is responding to the treatment in the correct way and also to rule out other skin conditions, such as melanoma.

At the Fortson Center, you will also receive suggestions on the right therapeutic skin care regimen that will help in avoid future spots. These are a few examples of the many additional benefits you’ll receive at Fortson Dermatology & SkinCare Center.

How many treatment sessions do I need?
The number of treatments is based on the color of the tattoo or the spot, the type of tattoo ink used and your skin. You will see results even after the first session when your skin removes the pigment dissolved by the laser. For example, brown spots may take one to three treatments; tattoos may take three or more treatments, again, based on your individual situation. During your no-cost initial consultation, we will discuss your individualized plan.

How long is each treatment session?
Sessions average about 15 minutes each; your actual session length will depend on the size of your tattoo. Each session is scheduled about one month apart to allow the skin to naturally clear away the pigment of the spot or the ink between treatments.

How much does it cost?
While tattoo removal is not inexpensive by any method, the PicoSure laser reduces the number and length of the sessions needed to dissolve a tattoo and provides results that are far more effective in eliminating the stubborn ink colors than any other method available.

Due to the cost of the technology, the per session cost for PicoSure may be somewhat higher than traditional lasers; however, as the duration and number of treatments needed are significantly less and result in a more thorough removal, the PicoSure is also a better overall value.

Because services are being provided by a licensed physician, some medical insurance plans may provide partial coverage or you may be able to use funds from your health savings account.

Laser treatment by highly-qualified professionals
For your well-being and the safety of your skin, laser treatment should be supervised only by a licensed medical professional, a physician with a specialty in skin and specialized training in laser treatment. It is the reason why the state of Alaska allows the sale of medical lasers only to licensed physicians. Your skin is too important to trust to anyone except a dermatologist.

Call to schedule your no-cost assessment
If you feel that brown spots or a tattoo are detracting from your appearance and would like to discuss if PicoSure is for you, call Fortson Dermatology and Skincare today to schedule your no-cost assessment appointment at 563-3204.

Fortson Dermatology & Skincare Center`
2401 E. 42nd Ave, Suite 301
Anchorage, AK 99508
(just off Lake Otis on 42nd)



Revolutionary laser erases tattoos and spots faster and more completely


Fortson Dermatology & Skin Care Center, LLC | T 907.563.3204 | F 907.563.4283
2401 East 42nd Ave. | Suite 301 | Anchorage, Alaska 99508
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