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Scottsdale/Phoenix Arizona
X-Tattoo Gang Tattoo Removal Program

Dr. Nachbar Removing a Tattoo

Yes, that was Dr. Nachbar on the Channel 15 News in Phoenix. The City of Phoenix operates the X-Tattoo Program to help former gang members and others with gang-related tattoos get a new start. Gangs "brand" their members with tattoos, to remind them of their ties to the gang. These tattoos are often on very visible locations, often the hands and arms, and even the face. When they want to get out of the gang, the tattoos make it harder to get their past behind them. Many, such as this young man, do not want their children to know about their past. Others find it hard to get a good job with tattoos on their hands and face.

Modern laser technology allows many of these tattoos to be removed with hardly a trace. A tattoo is made up of particles embedded in the skin. Although microscopic, they are too large for the body to remove. The laser light is selectively picked up by these dark particles, and breaks them up into much smaller particles which the body can remove over the subsequent weeks. Most tattoos require several laser treatments to get maximal removal. Scarring is unusual, and if a scar remains after treatment, it is often from the original tattoo placement.

The X-Tattoo Program takes advantage of this technology to help youngsters, who otherwise could not afford these treatments, to get rid of their tattoos. In exchange for community service, the City of Phoenix, via its "At Risk Youth" division, arranges for the laser treatments. The City rents a laser, and physician volunteers, such as Dr. Nachbar, come in on Saturdays and provide the treatments. Each participant can get a treatment about every six to nine weeks.

"Not only does this give me a chance to help the community, but I enjoy getting to know these people. It's fun to see them over the months as their tattoos disappear." Dr. Nachbar recently received a thank-you note from one of the participants. "Getting these tattoos off is very, very important to me & I can't stress how much I appreciate your time and work. Thank you so much. I can honestly tell you that I really enjoy my volunteer hours and will continue even when these tattoos are removed. Again, thanks."

Dr. Nachbar has been proud to volunteer his services to this program since 1996.

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