Laser Articles in Washington Post

Today’s Washington Post has two stories on the risks of laser hair removal when performed by the wrong practitioner:

Cosmetic Lasers: Facing Up to the Risk

</font><blockquote><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>quote:</font><hr /><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> Although many people appear to be happy with laser procedures, a growing number of patients and physicians say that results can be disappointing – or disastrous. One Washington dermatologist said he is consulting as an expert with plaintiffs in 100 lawsuits around the country involving botched hair removal treatments that resulted in burns, scarring or pigment changes. Dermatologic specialists in Washington and other cities say they routinely see patients with unfixable injuries, some inflicted by technicians who were wielding laser equipment that was out-of-date, set improperly or not appropriate for a patient’s skin type.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> </font><blockquote><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>quote:</font><hr /><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Industry officials estimate that 95 percent of laser hair removal treatments are being performed by non-physicians, although it is not known how many of them are nurses working under the supervision of dermatologists or plastic surgeons. Increasingly, cosmetologists and other spa employees who may have limited education and experience are performing laser treatments after a brief training course.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The article continues with a very interesting overview of the turf war that going on right now over who can perform laser hair removal.

See also:

In the Wrong Hands, Hair Removal Can Cause Burns, Scars, Pigment Changes

</font><blockquote><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>quote:</font><hr /><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery found that half its 2,400 members reported seeing an increase in complications in the past year from laser procedures performed by nonmedical personnel, frequently spa aethesticians or cosmetologists who work on clients after minimal training with little supervision. The procedure most often cited was laser hair removal that caused irreversible pigment changes, burns or scarring.

Non-physicians aren’t the only ones responsible. “Some of the worst damage we’ve seen was [inflicted] by untrained physicians” who thought they knew how to use a [cosmetic] laser, said Baltimore dermatologist Robert A. Weiss, director of the Maryland Laser, Skin and Vein Institute and an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “There can be a really steep learning curve with lasers,” added Weiss, who said that training typically consists of a four- or eight-hour course often given by a manufacturer’s representative.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>As I’ve been saying for years, your best bet is to get this done by a trained dermatologist with plenty of experience.

[ May 07, 2002, 09:46 PM: Message edited by: Andrea ]