Update: Despite producing excellent results in removing or lightening unwanted tattoos, Heaton Health has decided to no longer bring the PicoWay laser to our clinic.  This remains an excellent product, but the cost of bringing in the laser didn’t meet the demands of patients searching for such treatments in our area.  PicoWay continues to be available in larger surrounding cities such as Kitchener-Waterloo and London.


There are many reasons that people may wish to eliminate a tattoo.  It may hold meaning of a time or a person that they no longer want to be reminded of.  They may wish to reclaim a “blank slate” for a new tattoo creation.  Perhaps they want to eliminate a colour from their tattoo for which they have had a reaction to.

Whatever the reason, new laser technology has provided a safe and predictable treatment option.  We are pleased to inform you that this is now available close to home!!

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss this exciting new service to Heaton Health.

What is the PicoWay?

The PicoWay is a remarkably innovative dual wavelength picosecond laser from Syneron Candela. PicoWay enables removal of multi-colored tattoos, recalcitrant tattoos and benign pigmented lesions on any skin type. PicoWay’s unique mode of action is based on delivering ultra-short picosecond pulses of energy to the tissue. These bursts of energy create a photo-mechanical impact which breaks up the tattoo ink or pigmentation into smaller, more easily eliminated particles.

Are there any side effects?

On occasion, hypopigmentation (a whitening of the skin) may occur. However, normal skin tone should return within 6-12 months following your last treatment session. Blisters may also occur after treatment. The blisters occur infrequently and when treated appropriately will not have any long term effects. Scarring is also infrequent after treatment. Long term side effects are rare.

Can Any Tattoo Be Removed?

Yes, nearly every tattoo can be removed completely, now. With the use of the PicoWay laser, all colors (except white) can be treated. However, permanent makeup (cosmetic tattoos) and tattoos containing white pigment may actually become darker. Therefore, we recommend test spotting the area prior to treatment. With any technology, there is a change for residual effects with some tattoo removal cases.

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 Tylenol a few hours before the procedure. Pain medications that thin blood and promote bruising are not recommended. To further decrease the pain, the physician may apply a local anesthetic ointment on the tattoo an hour before the procedure. In some cases, the physician may inject a local anesthetic into the tattoo before the procedure.

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 several 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.

How Long Does Each Treatment Take?

Treatments usually do not take more than a few minutes, yet this time frame varies greatly depending on the size and color of the tattoo. However, several sessions are required to remove most tattoos. The sessions are usually split over 4-8 week periods.

What Determines The Success Of Tattoo Removal?

Complete removal of a tattoo is based on several factors. 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. Also if the tattoo artist had a heavy hand and caused some scarring during the tattooing process, the scar will still remain after the pigment has disappeared.

What will my skin look like after treatment?

Right after your treatment, your skin will have a white discoloration, and the area around the tattoo may become reddish and could have some swelling. This is normal and will disappear slowly over time. Immediately after treatment, ointment and gauze will be applied to the treated area to minimize infection.

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. Consulting with a professional and reputable tattoo removal specialist who is experienced and understands the procedure is important to ensure proper treatment and candidacy.