Understanding the Kirby-Desai Scale

The per treatment cost of laser tattoo removal varies and is based on the size and color(s) of your tattoo. The number of treatments necessary to remove a tattoo also varies.

Since cost is a major factor for most of us when considering any cosmetic procedure, dermatologists with specialization in tattoo removal techniques, Dr. Alpesh Desai and Dr. Will Kirby, developed the Kirby-Desai Scale in 2009. This scale not only allows practitioners to determine the number of treatments necessary for laser tattoo removal, but it also enables them to evaluate the overall potential success of the procedure. 

The Kirby-Desai Scale appoints numerical values to six criteria: Fitzpatrick Skin Type, the location of the tattoo on the body, the amount of ink in the tattoo, layering (cover-up or re-done), scarring and tissue change, the color(s) of the tattoo. The combined score will show the estimated number of treatments required for successful tattoo removal. 

Particular colors are more challenging to remove than others. Specifically, if treated with the wrong wavelength of laser light. For example, green ink has smaller molecular particles than other colors and may require treatment with multiple wavelengths of light to remove it, which is true for most colored tattoos. Many additional factors contribute to the success of laser tattoo removal, including your overall health and immune system. The use of this tool is standard practice in today’s laser tattoo removal.

During your in person consultation, we will examine and measure your tattoo(s), complete the Kirby-Desi scale, and thoroughly review your medical history for anything that could complicate the removal process. At the end of your consultation, you will be provided with a customized treatment plan, including an estimate of the number of treatments required to achieve your desired results and total cost for removal.

To learn more about The Kirby-Desai Scale read this journal article.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us.