Your Familys Health
About YFH
What's New ?
Home Page
Contact Us
Your Family's Health

Houston’s Tattoo Removal Program Succeeds Where Others Have Failed...


Everyone has done something during their life they wish they could change.  “Shoud’a, could’a, would’a” is a game we all play at one time or another.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of wishing you hadn’t eaten that gooey hot fudge sundae, but some deeds have much more far-reaching consequences...and some can actually brand you for life.
While there is no way to get an accurate count, by some estimates about 18 million people acquire a tattoo each year.  It’s a good guess that  at least 80 percent of them subsequently wish they hadn’t done it. 

In cases where the tattoo was part of an initiation ritual or gang identification, the wearable “art” can make a strong, negative statement about the owner that can make it tough for them to take their place in normal society.  As a former gang member complains, “Everyone knows that most businesses won’t  hire a person with a visible tattoo -- especially if it looks anything like a gang insignia.  Well, maybe you can get a job where the customers won’t see you.  But a questionable tattoo on the back of your hand, or cheek, or arm sure makes it hard to get a good job with a future -- whether or not your tattoo is gang-related.”

Houston’s Parks and Recreation Department, in partnership with the Harris County Medical Society, has come up with a program created to help give kids with tattoos a chance to have them removed.  The D-TAG Operation Gang Together program was designed to “help individuals re-enter mainstream society by removing tattoos that would identify them as participating in or supporting anti-social behavior.”  Kathy Cochran, director of the two-year old program, credits the partnership with the Harris County Medical Society (HCMS) as being the key to this effort’s success.

“A lot of cities have tried programs like this one,” Cochran explained, “Most of them enjoyed a brief period of success, but in the long run had to be abandoned or downsized.  Our D-TAG effort relies on access to expensive, sophisticated, state-of-the-art laser equipment and the trained technicians and physicians to use it.   There won’t be any shortage of kids wanting their tattoos removed after you announce a program like this.  The problem for many cities is that, after a while, it’s hard to find doctors willing to volunteer their time month after month to complete the ongoing removal process.  Fortunately, we have the dedicated support and participation by the HCMS and its member physicians that helps sustain our D-TAG program.”

Cochran explains that the program exchanges a commitment for community service for free tattoo removal.  Removal candidates, who must be 19 years old or younger, must agree to follow the program guidelines in order to participate.  If the candidate is a juvenile (17 and younger), a parent or guardian must complete a permission form.  The tattoos to be removed must be visible in normal street clothing to be eligible for treatment, and the teen must agree to have all their visible tattoos removed.  If the participant acquires a new tattoo while a part of the D-TAG program, they’re out.

Once the enrollment process is complete, participants attend an orientation program and watch a video that demonstrates how tattoos are removed with the laser technique.  The teens must perform six hours of volunteer work at a City of Houston park for each month they receive the laser removal treatments -- which can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending upon the size, colors and depth of the “art.”

Michael V. Kelly, II, M.D., a Houston plastic surgeon who volunteers a significant amount of his time to the D-TAG program and serves as HCMS Physician Coordinator for the effort, says he does it because “everyone makes mistakes and these youngsters shouldn’t have to wear theirs for the rest of their lives.”

“We have the laser technology and training to be able to make a difference in these youngsters’ future, and they really deserve our help,” Dr. Kelly said.  “I do a lot of tattoo removal in my practice, too, and I find all these patients have the same wish -- ‘just get it off!’   We had an e-mail the other day from someone who realized their mistake immediately, and wanted to know how soon a brand new tattoo could be taken off.”

Houston’s D-TAG program has already helped more than 200 now “tattoo-art free” teens, and is set up to handle about 50 to 55 youth each month. 






About YFH
What's New ?
Home Page
Contact Us
  Alzheimer's A to Z
  Complete Denial
Alternative Medicine
  First Do No Harm
  Is Natural OK?
  What You Should Know About Diabetes and Heart Disease
  Aspirin and Heart Disease
  A Four Letter Word that can kill you: FEAR
  How Heart Smart Are You? A Women’s Heart Health Test 
  High Blood Pressure
  Yes! You Can!
  Have A Great Vacation...But Don’t Over Do It!
  Nice Guys Finish….FIRST! - prostate cancer
  Karen's Story Part I
  Karen's Story Part II
  Karens Story - Part III
  Karen's Story - Part IV
  Karen's Story - Part V
  Letters to Karen
  The Legend continues... Arnold Palmer
Children's Health
  How to Talk to Your Children About War and Other Horrific Events…
  Painless Potty Training
  Five Ways to Help Your Kids "Make the Grade"
  Home Alone - Safety tips for working parents with Latchkey Kids
  Home Alone Part Two
  Emergency Medical Care for Children 
  Bike Safety Quiz
  Fun in the Sun
  Fat Not Fit
  Have an injury free summer
Community Health
  Its hot out there!
  Medics on Patrol
  Domestic Violence
  Prom Nightmare
Diet & Nutrition
  Summer Chicken Salad
Emergency Medicine
  CCEMS…Celebrating 25 Years
  When you call 911
  Life Saving Drug...
Family Health
  Travel With Confidence 
  When a Parent Dies
  Get your flu shot!
  Excuse me, what did you say? Coping with hearing loss... 
  Antibiotics are not always good for what ails you... 
  Greatest Gift
  Flee, Fleas...Please!
  Getting Along With Your Healthcare Providers
  Laughter and Stress
Healthy Feet
  Treating Heel Pain
  Early diagnosis of bunions helps keep you on your feet
  My Feet Hurt!
  An ounce of prevention... 
Internal Medicine
Mens Health
  Nice Guys Finish….FIRST! - prostate cancer
  What Makes a Man
  Prostate Cancer: A Woman’s Perspective 
  To Test, Or Not to Test ... That is the Question!
 Kidney transplant
 Kidney transplant update
Houston’s Tattoo Removal Program Succeeds Where Others Have Failed...
Wish You Hadn’t Done It? Here’s the scoop on tattoo removal...
Putting your best face forward ...
Chronic Heart Burn
Breast Implants
Tummy Tucks
Women's Health
  Preconception Planning
  Want to lose weight?
  What Are All Those Tests... And Why Do I Need Them?
  A Woman's middle years bring choices and changes
  An Old Problem...
  All Breasts Are Lumpy...
Your Family's Health
Google archive is NOT a medical website. It was developed to provide what we hope will be useful information for individuals and their family members. We do NOT have doctors to answer your questions, we do NOT make medical referrals or offer second opinions, and we will not reply to questions about any specific case. Instead, we hope that you will use the links at the bottom of the articles or our LINKS section to locate other sites of interest; utilize our message boards to discover related events; and to use the Forum area to “discuss” health issues with others who share your interests and concerns. We reserve the right to delete any objectionable postings.

The health and medical information on the World Wide Web comes from many sources and changes daily. There are likely to be errors and omissions in this information. This web site, its contributors nor its sponsors represents or warrants that the information in this Web Site or accessed through this Web Site is accurate or complete.

Please direct your medical and health questions to your health care provider.

It is our objective to promote an exchange of information. We do not endorse or recommend specific medical treatments, but we encourage visitors to our site to explore a variety of points of view.  A link to an outside product or site does should not be viewed as a recommendation or endorsement of a product. Consult your doctor.

©1999-2013 All rights reserved - The informaiton on this site is old, and outdated.

Houston web design by The Texas Network