Trish: Well, I’m here today with Dr. Rick Green who’s a plastic surgeon practicing in Vancouver, Washington and we’re going to talk about the Cutera Enlighten device. Thank you so much for taking the time today.

Dr. Rick Green: Happy to be here.

Trish: Lovely. Tell us … I love this device because I’ve actually seen it in operation, but can you tell us a little bit about it and what’s so great about the Enlighten for tattoo removal and whatever else?

Dr. Rick Green: The Enlighten has been wonderful for tattoo removal because it decreases the number of treatments that it takes to get rid of tattoos. Traditionally, people have been getting 10-20 treatments even to get rid of tattoos and even then, they are not completely gone. This, on average, 4-6 treatments to get rid of tattoos essentially completely. It’s not a partial removal, it’s a complete removal of a tattoo.

Trish: Yeah, well my daughter actually had two massive tattoos here. She’s had three treatments and they’re gone, which is unbelievable because a friend of hers had a smaller one, 13 treatments and it’s still there.

Dr. Rick Green: The difference is, the older lasers weren’t able to deliver the laser energy quickly enough to completely clear the tattoos. What we’re trying to do is break up the ink pigment and then once it gets small enough, then the body’s white blood cells actually gobble up the little particles and take them away. That’s how tattoo removal works these days and you need a laser that can deliver the energy very quickly. In this case, over 750 trillionths of a second.

Trish: Wow.

Dr. Rick Green: That’s how fast that’s going in.

The previous lasers were not anywhere near that fast as far as how they delivered the laser energy and so that’s been a big advance. Then the nice thing also from a point of view of a provider, a doctor, or a practitioner is that we have two different wavelengths we can choose from, which gives a lot of variety as far as colours that we can treat. We can treat reds, for example, with a 532 nanometer wavelength and then the darker blues or greens with a 1064 nanometer wavelength. Also, that it allows us to treat all skin types because the 1064 nanometer wavelength is needed when you have darker skin types or tan skin.

Trish: Okay, so is that an all colour tattoo removal?

Dr. Rick Green: It is. Right now, the colours … Some colours like neon green or a yellow will take a few more treatments to get rid of than the reds, the blacks, et cetera.

Trish: Sure. Sure, all right. The other question I was going to ask you, what other skin treatments can you treat with the Enlighten as well?

Dr. Rick Green: It’s been interesting. When it first came out, we were using it for pigmentation, like sun spots, flat, dark, crusty lesions you can go after it, but what I’ve been doing lately is using it to treat melasma. Melasma is a hormonally based pigmentation staining in the skin and it’s more common in women, more common in women who have had kids, and it is really difficult to treat traditionally. We’ve used sunscreen, we’ve used hydroquinone, which is a skin lightener, but we’re now using the Enlighten laser, turning the energy way down, turning the pulses per second way up, and so we might be putting 6,000 pulses into the face at 750 picoseconds, the 750 trillionths of a second, and within 3 to 5 treatments spaced a week or two apart, we’re seeing some nice clearing of this melasma pigment.

Trish: Oh, fantastic. You can get your tattoo removed and also have your pigmentation done at the same time as well because I know how hard that is to remove.

Dr. Rick Green: Yeah, one stop shopping.

Trish: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for taking the time today.

Dr. Rick Green: Sure.

Trish: If you’re after a practitioner that offers this treatment in house, just drop us an e-mail at Thank you so much.

Dr. Rick Green: Thanks very much.


Trish is a plastic surgery blogger. She is passionate about wellbeing, health and beauty, and doesn't mind a little bit of 'help' from the amazing cosmetic and beauty procedures that are available today. Trish spends her days talking to women and men who are looking for suggestions and advice on procedures that are available to them. Cutting through the sales pitch and hype, a down-to-earth response on general information is what you will get.

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