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Laser Skin Injuries to be Addressed by South Carolina
By MSP Staff | Published 07/30/2007 | Business Trends |
MSP Staff
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Laser Skin Injuries to be Addressed by South Carolina

No matter how much lotion Carol Czarnik puts on her legs, her brown scar near her ankle will never go away. It's not the result of an accident or a fall, but a laser procedure a local doctor's office performed on her legs to remove spider veins in 2004.
"It feels like a rubber band snapping as the laser hits you,” that’s how Czarnik describes the way the laser felt on her skin.

Before leaving, Czarnik says the medical technician who performed the treatment knew something went wrong, “As I was done with the procedure, I was told right away we have some trauma happening to your legs right away.”

For weeks, blisters covered her legs.  Her current dermatologist, Marguerite Germain in Mount Pleasant, says it appears Czarnik’s scars are from laser settings put too high, “It was suggested to her that is was a simple procedure to get her leg veins done, and look at what happened.”

The South Carolina Medical Board says laser skin procedures have increased dramatically over the past few years.  So have complications and injuries.  The board now plans to reinforce and remind doctors about the rules relating to laser skin treatments.”

Doctor Louie Costa is president of the state's medical board. He says the board will give final approval next week to give final approval of more detailed policies regarding lasers used in cosmetic and medical procedures such as hair and scar removal.  “There are occasions when we still see misconduct and we are very aggressively pursuing those infractions.”

Doctors are not required to perform the procedure, and often have technicians do the work. The board says doctors must see patients before the laser touches the skin. Czarnik says that didn't happen with her.

Germain says patients need to follow their instincts, “The thing that is most significant, is that she knew that things were not really right.  She had an initiative sense it was hurting too much.”
Here are some questions you need to ask before you go under the laser:
1. What are the expectations of the procedure?
2. Any risks involved?
3. Is the doctor present in the office?
4. What are his/her qualifications?
5. What emergency procedures are in place if there is a complication?

S.C. Medical Board Policies:
The South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners has adopted policies covering laser and intense pulsed light therapy (IPL), botox injections and other cosmetic procedures.  Click on the link that follows to review the Board’s policies.

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