Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Risks and Rewards of Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is one of the leading cosmetic procedures requested by our patients today. Nearly half a million laser hair removal treatments were performed by dermatologic surgeons in 2011, the last year for which figures are available, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Laser hair removal uses pulses of laser light to destroy hair follicles and permanently remove unwanted hair. The procedure provides three main benefits:
-It’s precise. When performed properly, the lasers can target and destroy dark, coarse hair without damaging the surrounding skin.
-It’s fast. It only takes a fraction of a second to destroy a hair follicle, and the laser can treat many hairs at the same time.
-It’s effective. On average, 90 percent of patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to five sessions.

However, complications resulting from poorly performed laser procedures led to a surge in litigation in recent years. A recent study published in JAMA Dermatology showed the percentage of lawsuits over laser surgery that involved a non-physician operator increased to 78 percent in 2011 from 36 percent in 2008. Laser hair removal was the most commonly performed procedure cited in the litigation.

Performed improperly, laser hair removal can cause disfiguring injuries, severe burns and, on the rare occasion, death. It is extremely important to consult a qualified medical professional to perform laser hair removal.

Using a laser requires planning by trained physician who can assess your skin type, perform a proper skin screening prior to treatment and create an appropriate schedule for follow-up treatments. Your dermatologist will be able to advise you on the best options to protect your health and provide optimum results.

Dr. Miller is a board-certified dermatologist and is a licensed and trained laser hair removal operator. If you are considering laser hair removal, schedule a consultation with Dr. Miller by calling Greenville Dermatology today at (864) 242-5871. 

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