The Kirby-Desai Scale: A Proposed Scale to Assess Tattoo-removal Treatments.


Background: As tattoos have become increasingly popular in the Western world, tattoo-removal requests have also increased, as patients' personal identities advance. Laser tattoo removal is the current treatment of choice given its safety and efficacy. However, due to varying types of tattoos, it has been difficult to quantify the number of laser treatments required with certainty when discussing laser tattoo removal with our patients. Objective: To propose a practical numerical scale to assess the number of laser tattoo-removal treatments necessary to achieve satisfactory results. Methods and materials: A retrospective chart review was performed on 100 clinic patients who presented for laser tattoo removal. An algorithm was proposed to assign a numerical score to each tattoo across six different categories (skin type, location, color, amount of ink, scarring, and layering). The cumulative score (Kirby-Desai score) is proposed to correlate with the number of treatment sessions required for satisfactory tattoo removal. Results: A correlation coefficient of 0.757 was achieved, with satisfactory tattoo removal in all subjects (N=100, p<0.001). Conclusion: We propose the Kirby-Desai scale as a practical tool to assess the number of laser tattoo-removal sessions required, which will translate into a more certain cost calculation for the patient.

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