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Lasers Surg Med. 2002;31(2):121-8.

Magnetite tattoos.

Author information

1
Wellman Labs of Photomedicine, Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 55 Fruit St., Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Tattoo removal is a significant problem. The extraction of magnetite (Fe(3)O(4)) ink tattoos by a magnetic field was investigated, with and without Q-switched laser treatment.

STUDY DESIGN/MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Magnetite particles (1.4 microm) were used to make mature, black skin tattoos on hairless albino rats. A Q-switched ruby laser (QSRL) 3.5 J/cm(2), 6.5-mm spot size, 40-nanosecond pulse width was used for treatment. Permanent magnets (1.4 T, 6-mm diameter) were tested to extract the magnetite particles, alone and after QSRL. Lightening of treated tattoos was measured from digital photographs, and the amount and distribution of magnetite in skin biopsies was scored blindly.

RESULTS:

External application of magnets on mature magnetite tattoos without prior QSRL treatment, did not significantly extract, lighten, darken, or change their histologic appearance. A magnetic field applied immediately after QSRL treatment extracted some ink when epidermal injury was present, and caused significant redistribution of magnetite into the upper dermis with vertical banding along magnetic field lines. When applied for 3 weeks following QSRL, magnets caused darkening of tattoos.

CONCLUSIONS:

Magnetite skin tattoos can be manipulated by external magnets, especially after Q-switched laser treatment. Magnetically-extractable tattoos may be feasible.

PMID:
12210596
DOI:
10.1002/lsm.10075
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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