Laser Hair Removal Leaves Patient Permanently Scarred


Dermatology ExpertThis case involves a female patient who was undergoing laser hair removal on her cheek. After beginning her first treatment, the patient got married and moved to another county. She continued laser hair removal treatment at the defendant facility in her new hometown.  The patient received 3 treatment sessions at the defendant facility using a YAG handpiece. After the third visit, the patient developed 2nd-degree burns on her cheek. She was given Aquaphor and was asked to return in a week for evaluation. The patient decided to seek medical attention and presented to a burn center where she was found to have an infected burn. The patient was treated for her burns but was left with permanent scarring on her face. An expert dermatologist with laser treatment experience was sought to review the records and opine on the standard of care and causation.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please explain your experience with laser hair removal.
  • 2. What treatment options are available for a patient that develops a 2nd-degree burn after laser treatment?
  • 3. How does a delay in intervention affect the outcome of a case such as the one described?

Expert Witness Response E-042624

As a board-certified dermatologist, I have been trained in laser hair removal and regularly perform this procedure in my office. Although none of my patients have sustained burns from laser hair removal during my treatments, I have treated patients who present with burns following laser procedures at other facilities. Treatments include culturing the wound, administering topical and oral antibiotics, wound care, and referrals to plastic surgery if necessary. In some cases, if the burn is not treated promptly it may lead to scarring or post-inflammatory changes. I have both published and lectured on cosmetic dermatology.

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