Infrared Coagulator by Redfield Corp.

Anal Dysplasia
Tattoo Removal

Hair Transplant

Chronic Rhinitis

Tattoo Removal

The "Adios Tatuajes" Program

The Adios Tatuajes Program was started in Chamelecón, a very poor and violent neighborhood of San Pedro Sula, Honduras in November 2000. It was a program that focused on recovering youth involved in gangs. Due to the fact that gang members wore identifying tattoos, they were often shut out from employment opportunities in the manufacturing industries when they eventually decided to change their lifestyle (around the age of 20). Consequently, an inexpensive method for removing tattoos was researched and eventually brought to Honduras.

The process for removing tattoos is complicated and time consuming. Traditional procedures such as dermabrasion or surgery have left extensive scarring and are hardly used in this day and age. Laser removal is the most common modern approach. However it requires professional medical expertise and is cost prohibitive, especially for third world countries. In 1991, Dr. Tolbert Wilkinson, M.D. from San Antonio , Texas perfected a procedure which uses infrared light ( Redfield Infrared Coagulator ). This procedure offers minimal scarring and is relatively inexpensive. The machine is simple to operate, and can be employed by non-medical staff trained in the process. The Adios Tatuaje Program employs this innovative process for tattoo removal.

After two and a half years of operation, the Adios Tatuajes Program has treated more than 14,000 youth. At present it operates two full time clinics in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa . El Progreso runs a clinic once a week and has treated 4000 youth. La Ceiba runs a part time clinic with its own equipment. At present they have treated over 1000. Tegucigalpa has its own equipment and has treated 2500 in the past year. Each team that operates a clinic has been trained in San Pedro Sula . Suyapa Bonilla, a practical nurse was sent to San Antonio , Texas to learn the procedure. She now coordinates the various programs and is now considered to be the world expert in tattoo removal using infrared coagulation.

The Adios Tatuaje Program expanded its service to Guatemala City in February 2002. Located in the Social Pastoral Office of the Archdiocese of Guatemala, it has a staff of three and has treated over 2500 cases. There is a waiting list of 2500. One of the unique elements of this program is that an AIDS education and testing component has been incorporated into the treatment cycle.

In June, 2002, the Adios Tatuaje Program was started up in San Salvador by the team from San Pedro Sula . It began service in a new clinic situated in a poor barrio (Mejicanos) of San Salvador . The program began slowly, but has gained notoriety due to media exposure. The clinic is the only one of its kind in El Salvador and 15-25 patients are treated three times a week. Patients have come from as far away as Mexico to take advantage of the program. The San Salvador program is highly organized and linked to other youth rehabilitation groups.

As of this date, the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, a non-profit missionary Society has initially funded most of the Adios Tatuaje Programs. Hopefully new funding agencies will contribute to this popular youth rehabilitation program and facilitate its expansion to other parts of Honduras and Central America . A noted positive aspect of the program is the fact that the youth that are treated in the Program have from the outset collaborated with partial payment for their treatment, an essential element of rehabilitation.

Rev. David La Buda, M.M.
Maryknoll , New York
September, 2003

Infrared Coagulator by Redfield Corp.