Jan 08, 2020

Injuries from Cosmetic Laser Procedures

What You Need to Know Before Your Laser Treatment!

If you're considering a cosmetic laser treatment anytime soon, whether it's to treat your melasma, wrinkles, or scar or tattoo removal, stop and ask yourself a few serious questions first. 


While most laser procedures are completed with a high patient satisfaction rate and without incident, there's a growing list of serious complaints where patients are being harmed. There are reported cases of second-degree burns and permanent scarring and pigmentation issues. 

We talked to board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Matt Avram to find out what you need to know before you schedule a laser procedure. Dr. Avram is a world-renowned expert in Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology. He is director of the Mass General Dermatology Laser & Cosmetic Center and director of Dermatologic Surgery at MGH.

Where is Your Procedure Taking Place? And Who is Performing Your Procedure?

"One of the things we found in our research is, the setting of where lasers are performed has a lot to do with whether or not a patient's going to have a complication or an injury. We looked at the data over a 15 year period and saw that the most common setting for injuries from lasers is unsupervised, non-physicians."

"About 66% of cases in the last five years that have ended up in injuries for patients have occurred by non-physician operators in non-physician offices, with no supervision. However, treatments performed in a physician's office, by physicians or under supervision, are far less likely to end up an injury."

"The most important thing I would tell a patient who is looking to get a cosmetic treatment is to pay attention to who is performing the procedure. To what extent are they an expert in the field, do they have a lot of experience in what they're doing?"

Many States Offer Little to No Protection

"I think one of the things the public needs to be aware of is the state laws which vary state to state across the country, aren't necessarily giving them the protection that they probably believe they're getting. Many states, such as Massachusetts where I am, offer little to no protection for the patient."

"Unfortunately, way too frequently, people who don't have a lot of training or haven't done a lot of these procedures are performing procedures, and patients are getting harmed."