Leave Tattoo and Da Plane to Fantasy Island

Tattoo removalWhen you live in an outdoor paradise like Bend only vampires spend a lot of time indoors. We’re hiking, biking, golfing, skiing, playing in the water, and anything else just to get out there. And we’re out there in shorts, tank tops, and other less than covering attire.

Ah, but there’s that tattoo on your shoulder. You know, the one that seemed like a good idea 20 years ago when you’d had 11 cocktails and were in love with Steve. You got matching dragons together!

Now, that dragon is starting to look like a platypus, and Steve has gone the way of the Pony Express. Maybe that tattoo should, too.

Aging skin is not tattoo-friendly skin

Everyone’s skin ages. Well, not Dracula’s or the neck biters from Twilight, but everyone else watches as their skin loses its collagen supply (collagen is the protein that provides and maintains the skin’s support structure) and its elastin (the protein that keeps the skin supple). Throw in sun damage and your skin becomes looser and less elastic. For a tattoo, that means the sharp lines and definition of days gone by are no longer so defined. Give it another 10 years and you may be hard pressed to even be able to make out what the tattoo is supposed to be. All of this is exacerbated with weight gain.

Removing it

It used to be that there were only three ways to get rid of a tattoo: surgery to remove the skin, acid bleaching, and dermabrasion (basically sandblasting of your skin). All of them were just as pleasant as they sound.

Fortunately technology has come to the rescue in the form of the laser. Lasers can remove any tattoo, returning your arm, neck, shoulder, calf, or wherever to its pre-tattooed clarity. At Deschutes, we use the Spectra Laser for tattoo removal, employing different wavelengths for the different colors in the tattoo.

How does it work?

At Deschutes, our lasers deliver quick high-energy pulses that are absorbed by the pigment in the tattoo. The energy breaks the pigment into particles small enough that they can then be cleared from the body by the lymphatic system.

Now many treatments are necessary?

It’s very difficult to pinpoint just how many treatments your tattoo will need to remove it completely. This is because of the different ink colors, as well as the depth the ink has been placed. Single black tattoos with the name of your former boyfriend are easy. Multicolor scenes from Lord of the Rings, not so much. Black, red, dark orange, and dark blue tattoos respond quickly, while certain other colors such as green, purple, brown, and light colors take more time. Most tattoos require a number of treatments spaced from six to eight weeks apart.

Tattoos generally take from 3 to 13 treatments to go the way of the passenger pigeon.

Does it hurt?

The procedure has some discomfort, but not much. We apply an anesthetic cream to the location prior to beginning the laser treatment. After each treatment, you will have three to four days of sensitivity at the site. You’ll also need to apply an over-the-counter antibiotic to the site and keep it covered.

Are you as tired of that tattoo as Mr. Rourke must have been of Tattoo on Fantasy Island? Call us at Deschutes, 541-330-0900, and let’s zap it away.


Don’t Give Me Any Lipoma

LipomaWhen a person comes across a growth or a lump, there is always cause for concern. But if the team at Deschutes tells you it’s a lipoma, that’s reason to breath easy. These growths are not cancerous and don’t turn into cancer. They are the most common noncancerous soft tissue growth in the human body.

What is a lipoma?

A lipoma is congregation of fat cells in a thin, fibrous capsule that usually develops just below the skin and over an underlying muscle. Usually felt just beneath the skin, lipomas are small, from 1 to 3 centimeters. When pushed on, lipomas have a soft, rubbery consistency and can be moved. Once established, they grow very slowly or remain the same over time.

Where do lipomas form?

Lipomas can occur all over the body. Most often they can be found on the torso (particularly on the back), neck, upper thighs, upper arms, and armpits. At Deschutes, we also occasionally find lipomas within a muscle (intramuscular lipomas).

Why should I bother removing a lipoma?

Most times, lipomas don’t require any attention. But if they become tender, acquire an infection, become inflamed often, interfere with your movement or daily activities, or become enlarged and have a foul-smelling discharge, then we’ll probably recommend removing them.

How do we remove lipomas?

We have different options for removing your lipoma.

Surgical removal — This is done on an outpatient basis, in most cases. We use local anesthesia, remove the entire growth, and close the incision with stitches.

Steroid injections — Steroid injections will usually shrink the lipoma, but they will not eliminate the growth entirely.

Liposuction — If the lipoma is soft enough and isn’t connected to surrounding tissue, we can remove it with liposuction. It doesn’t work well with larger growths, as they tend to recur.

New techniques — To avoid the scarring that accompanies surgical excision, new methods are being tried using injectable compounds such as steroids or phosphatidylcholine that trigger the breakdown of the fats that are forming the lipoma.

Obviously, any growth on your skin merits attention. Call the team at Deschutes and let’s take a look, 541-330-0900.