A recent study in the journal, JAMA Dermatology reviews lawsuits filed after receiving skin treatments with a medical-grade laser. The most common procedure leading to a lawsuit was laser hair removal. The study reviewed whether lawsuits increased when the treatment was provide by a NPO (nonphysician operator). Take a look at these very telling statistics from the study:
“Despite the fact that approximately only one-third of laser hair removal procedures are performed by NPOs, 75.5% of hair removal lawsuits from 2004 to 2012 were performed by NPOs. From 2008 to 2012, this number increased to 85.7%. Most cases (64.0%) by NPOs were performed outside of a traditional medical setting.”
Interestingly, even though a MINORITY of these procedures were performed by non-doctors, a MAJORITY of the lawsuits came after laser skin treatment by non-doctors. This isn’t to suggest that doctors performing laser hair removal have no complications but as a plastic surgeon that is familiar with treating acute burns, I am more prepared to help a patient with recovery after one of these unfortunate reactions as opposed to a nonphysician with no training in burn or wound care.
Also, as found in the study, if you’re having your laser treatment in the mall or in some other non-clinic setting, take a second to ask yourself what you’re doing. You should not be surprised if you have an untoward effect after treatment in a hotel room!
I usually find myself talking about the risks of cosmetic surgery with a non-plastic surgeon but even when it comes to non-invasive procedures, don’t assume those treatments are harmless. It’s still important to seek out a board certified plastic surgeon.
Speaking of getting treatment in a mall or hotel room, what’s the craziest location you’ve heard of someone having medical treatment?