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    TOBIL System blasts tattoo color with white light

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    The application of white light using the TOBIL (Tattoo Obliteration by Intensified Light) system (Redfield, Germany) appears to be extremely effective in the complete removal of tattoos of any color. The approach is quicker, more effective and much less expensive than currently accepted laser removal techniques, according to Tolbert S. Wilkinson, M.D.

    "The TOBIL System originally marketed as 'infrared' and 'coagulation' proves to not only be faster and more inexpensive than laser techniques but also can significantly minimize complications of hypopigmentation and hypertrophic scarring when basic principles of woundcare, blood supply and precautions are adhered to," says Dr. Wilkinson, of the Cosmetic Surgery Center & Spa, San Antonio.


    This typical multicolor circumferential tattoo in a young female marathon athlete is treated with all-encompassing TOBIL intense white light in a polka-dot pattern. The compression and topical antibiotic protocol was followed. (All photos credit: Tolbert S. Wilkinson, M.D.)
    According to Dr. Wilkinson, initial suboptimal utilization of broad-spectrum white-light energy for the removal of tattoos had prevented this approach from being readily used prior to his study.

    TECHNIQUE'S HISTORY In a 1995 study performed for the Innovative Procedures Committee of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), Dr. Wilkinson evaluated the efficacy of tattoo removal using a tungsten halogen light source (approved by the Food and Drug Administration for tattoo removal). This study was part of a larger initiative supported by ASAPS to find a more efficient and cost-effective method of tattoo removal without the use of lasers.


    Following three treatments at a minimum of 30 days apart (depending on her marathon schedule), only a few dots of deeper dermal pigment remain.
    Dr. Wilkinson developed and refined an effective treatment protocol to minimize scarring and recovery time while keeping basic principles of woundcare as well as protection of scar-prone areas and blood supply. Using a sapphire delivery tip, the broad-spectrum halogen light in the TOBIL system is concentrated and applied to the tattoo in half-second intervals and spaced in a polka-dot-like pattern with a two-dot interval, unless the tattoo is a script form in a favorable area. For scar-prone areas such as the central breast, the high shoulder and the upper back, energy levels are not increased.

    The second polka-dot pattern placed between the initial treatment spots is performed at 30 days and again at 30 days thereafter, and it may be safely performed at 0.7 or 0.8 pulse-per-second energy bursts if required.

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