Tattoos, once a trademark of sailors and bikers, have, for good or ill, become part of the popular culture in recent years.
With tattoos, come tattoo removals. Dr. Wayne Wertheim is a Roslyn native who has practiced in Roslyn for decades. He, too, specializes in tattoo removal, but for different specifics.
Wertheim said that 60 percent of cancer patients need radiation. Such patients have two to five tattoo markers needed for the radiation process. Many women who are recovering from breast cancer still have a tattoo radiation market on them. For many women, the marker is a painful reminder of a traumatic time in their lives. Removing the marker, Wertheim said, represents the final stages of recovery, resulting, often in a healthy psychological impact for female patients.
Wertheim is medical director of Island Medical Laser, 118 Glen Cove Rd., Roslyn Heights. He is now offering discounts for law enforcement officers and returning veterans who want a tattoo removed. In addition, he is offering complimentary removal of those same radiation markers. Finally, Wertheim is offering a free tattoo removal for any firefighter candidate who is trying out for a local fire department. The removal of the radiation marker, Wertheim added, only takes about five minutes with minimal aftercare required.
Removing the radiation marker is, as noted, a way to increase self-confidence for breast cancer survivors. Removing tattoos on returning veterans and law enforcement officers have their own practical effects. Wertheim cited a recent survey that claimed that 40 percent of employers feel that employees with tattoos reflect poorly on their services. In addition, firefighters in both New York City and Long Island are required to cover up certain tattoos while on the job.
On the general subject, Wertheim has noted the sea change in popular culture regarding tattoos. He said that in the past, doctors had to deal with “tattoo regret.” A young man, usually on a drunken spree and in an attempt to impress a girlfriend, would have second thoughts and seek to have the tattoo removed. Today, Wertheim added, it is not uncommon for patients to want the ink removed and replaced with better ink.
However, there is still the need for outright removal. There are the cases of young mothers who prior to motherhood, had a tattoo. Now a parent, they realize the mistake of having such a marker on their body. They don’t want their children to see it, so they have it removed. Wertheim said that of the 25 percent of young people in the Northeast that have tattoos, a full 60 percent of them are female.