TattooMedics: Shattering Your Misconceptions

Richard Rosol wants to eliminate the phrase “tattoo regret” from our lexicon. “Tattoos can be more like a piece of jewelry that you don’t like anymore. You don’t regret buying it, you just don’t want to wear it.” Rosol is the owner and medical director of TattooMedics Skin Solutions, a PVD-based office that safely and comfortably removes unwanted tattoos.

It’s a lot to ask of a tattoo, that it be continuously meaningful even as the wearer evolves through their life. “The emotional weight of the tattoo removal story tends to be similar to the emotional weight of the tattoo genesis itself,” said Rosol. “Every tattoo has a story and the reason they’re removing it tends to be of equal magnitude.” But he won’t dish with me about the stories he has, citing patient confidentiality. He did agree to speak in general terms, however. He told me that many of the people who visit TattooMedics ask for an ex’s name to be removed. “We offer a 5% discount for that,” said Rosol. “We call it ‘laser your loser.'” Others choose to remove memorial tattoos they received after the death of a loved one. “It’s a symbol that their mourning is ended.”

Richard Rosol, MD

Richard Rosol, MD

Laser tattoo removal isn’t Dr. Rosol’s first career. He began his work as a pediatrician, which he explained to me after I apologized for my infant wailing in the background during our interview. “Don’t apologize,” he said. “I miss that.” Because he’s a physician, he has a great deal of flexibility when it comes to pain management during the tattoo removal process. And that’s one of the things people always want to know when considering tattoo removal: Is it going to hurt? “It doesn’t have to,” he said. “We use a prescription numbing medication that makes the removal process really quite comfortable.” He knows that the word on the street is that tattoo removal is painful. “The laser we have would be even more painful [without anesthesia] because it shatters ink in the skin very effectively. But a really effective ink shattering is a little explosion in the skin.” Ouch!

As in all medical settings, Rosol works on a 0 to 10 pain scale. “We had a patient yesterday who was terrified — they’re all terrified the first time — and she said the pain was literally zero. And people who are not anesthetized will report 15 out of 10 or 20 out of 10. That’s why I don’t do them without anesthetics. You wouldn’t have your appendix removed without anesthesia, even if the surgery only lasted five minutes.” As someone who requires sedation for a hangnail removal, I couldn’t agree more.

Dr. Rosol understands that a tattoo is more than skin deep. “An unwanted tattoo can be quite a source of psychic stress for people,” he said. “And that stress is not about the tattoo itself. It’s really the person and their story.” And hearing those stories seems to be one of Rosol’s favorite parts of what he does. Allowing people to talk through their reasons for tattoo removal releases some of that stress and gives them concrete steps to take to move forward. “People feel better from the first consultation,” he said.


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