Understanding The Kirby-Desai Scale And How It Relates To Laser Tattoo Removal

When researching laser tattoo removal, one thing you may come across is the Kirby-Desai scale. This is a very useful — but occasionally misunderstood — way of determining how long it will take to fully remove a tattoo. Don’t worry, it doesn’t require any highly-technical medical knowledge to understand. You just need to know a few things about yourself and your tattoo.
With that said, here’s what you need to know about the Kirby-Desai scale:

What Is The Kirby-Desai Scale?
The Kirby-Desai scale is a predictive scale that looks at factors such as skin type, tattoo location, ink color, ink amount, scar tissue, and layering in order to give a rough estimate of how long a tattoo removal will take and how successful it will be. It’s important to emphasize that this is only an estimate, each person is different and each tattoo removal is unique. Still, it provides some useful information for patients and doctors.

Some patients who are worried about the cost or length of the procedure may find that it won’t take as long as they imagine. Others may find that it will be more involved than they’re comfortable with and decide not to move forward. Either way, this scale tells you a few things that you can then use to make a more informed decision. Now, let’s take a look at each part of the scale in greater detail.

Skin Type
Skin type is rated on a 1 to 6 scale, with 1 being the lightest skin tone and 6 being the darkest. In general, people with darker skin tones will need more sessions to remove their tattoo, and they experience a slightly higher risk of complications, including scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Location is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 depending on how close the tattoo is to the heart and major blood vessels. Tattoos closer to the heart will fade faster, as the bodies immune response is what does all of the work in removing tattoo pigment.

Ink Color
Ink color is rated on a scale of 1 to 4. Certain colors are better at absorbing light, and as such, they respond better to laser tattoo removal. The easiest color of ink to remove is black, while the hardest are green, yellow, and blue.

Ink Amount
This is rated on a scale of 1 to 4. You can probably already guess that the more ink your tattoo has, the longer it will take to remove for obvious reasons. This goes for both the size of the tattoo and how deep the ink penetrates. Amateur tattoos typically contain less ink and the ink is closer to the surface, while professional tattoos use more ink that penetrates deeper.

Scar Tissue
Scar tissue is on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 meaning there is no major scarring present. Tattoos with scarring present are much more difficult to remove and will require many more sessions.

Patients who don’t want to pay for tattoo removal often try covering it up with another, bigger tattoo. The presence of previous cover-up attempts is rated on a scale of 0 to 2 depending on the characteristics of the cover-up tattoo.

Are you looking for an experienced cosmetic surgeon to perform your laser tattoo removal? Dr. DeMercurio has over 9 years of experience in the field and his clients hold him in very high regard. Please, contact us at The Florida Center for Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery today for more information on getting rid of your unwanted tattoos.