More than 14 million minimally invasive cosmetic procedures take place each year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. These procedures range from hair removal and facial peels to Botox injections and microdermabrasion. Experts credit affordability and availability for this increased popularity, but consumers also appreciate that these procedures are less invasive, generally only requiring an outpatient office appointment and a limited amount of recovery time. Unfortunately, the convenience of these procedures is sometimes overshadowed by serious injuries that can lead to permanent disfigurement.
Laser procedures are included in this growing cosmetic trend, with specialized laser centers popping up in cities across Georgia. These facilities utilize specialized lasers to treat various skin conditions, including:
- The removal of scars, birthmarks, and moles
- Resurfacing to reduce signs of aging, like wrinkles and dark spots
- Tattoo removal
- Permanent removal of unwanted hair
- Tightening of sagging skin
Injuries associated with laser treatments
While most laser treatments are completed without incident, there is a growing list of instances where clients are being injured instead of cosmetically enhanced. The most common reported injuries include:
- Second- and third-degree burns. Laser treatments are meant only to target the condition that is being corrected. For example, with hair removal, the target of the laser is the hair follicle and not the skin around it. If the laser’s energy is absorbed by the skin instead of the hair, it can cause severe burns.
- Permanent scarring. Though lasers are often used to correct scarring, they then can, ironically, cause more serious, permanent scars. This is because the laser works by causing slight damage to your skin in order to improve it. However, when done incorrectly, this damage can lead to disfigurement.
What risk do you face during laser treatments?
When cosmetic laser clients are severely injured, they may be left with conditions that permanently disfigure their faces. These are some of the most devastating and challenging injuries to overcome, and responsible parties should be held accountable. Some of the causes of these injuries include:
- Inadequately trained operators. The popularity of these procedures has led to an influx of under-qualified individuals offering and performing these services. Sometimes, even in a reputable spa or physician’s office, a physician leaves an inexperienced technician to handle the laser procedure without adequate supervision. In these cases, a medical malpractice claim may be warranted.
- Use of incorrect laser device. The laser professional should also know how to choose the most appropriate laser for your condition and skin type. Various lasers are made to perform specific treatments on specific skin types, such as hair removal lasers that are meant for use on darker skin. Choosing the wrong type of laser can lead to severe injury.
- Malfunctioning or defective device. Not all laser devices have been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and even those that are may malfunction and cause an injury. While it is up to the operator to ensure that the chosen device is FDA approved, the manufacturer of a faulty laser may also be liable when injuries occur. In these cases, victims may be able to bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the defective device.
If you or a loved one was injured by a cosmetic laser treatment, call the experienced Georgia personal injury lawyers of Harris Lowry Manton LLP to discuss your legal options. Call us at 404-998-8847 at our Atlanta office, in Savannah at 912-417-3774, or reach us through our contact form.