Patient injuries show need for guidelines on laser use: survey reveals

OTTAWA, Jan. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Dermatology Association's (CDA) survey Laser Use in Canada: A Survey of Corrective Treatment Performed by Dermatologists in Canada reveals a growing need for practical guidelines for the use of lasers.

The CDA conducted an online survey of its members to determine the number of dermatologists who treat patients for burns, scars or other wounds sustained after seeking laser hair removal, intense pulse light (IPL) or other laser treatments offered by salon technicians or non-physicians. The purpose of the survey was to determine the frequency of reparative procedures, as well as to aid CTV investigative series W5 with a report to be aired Saturday, January 28 (Don't Get Burned) on the dangers of cosmetic laser treatments.

With the popular promise of simple hair-free flawless skin, the number of salons offering cosmetic laser procedures is continually increasing. Nevertheless, according to the survey findings a staggering 73% of dermatologists reported having provided patients with corrective treatment for injuries they received after seeking cosmetic laser services at salons.

The survey also shows overwhelming support (97%) for the development of clear guidelines for the use of lasers. "To protect Canadians we need to pay more attention to how lasers are being used, who's using them and the kind of training these people have," says Dr Denise Wexler, CDA President, "otherwise the outcome could be devastating for patients." The improper use of lasers carries many risks, such as the increased possibility of burns, scars, permanent pigmentary changes and damage to the eyes.

Dr. Wexler went on to say "We feel strongly that the use of lasers in cosmetic and dermatologic procedures be restricted to physicians and personnel under the guidance of physicians who have a greater understanding of the skin, its structure and the implications of laser use on the skin."

In the interest of protecting Canadians, the CDA will be lobbying Health Canada for formal regulations about the use of lasers and pushing for a more structured certification process. In light of the survey findings and the necessity for a structured procedure of use, the CDA will also be developing formal guidelines for the use of lasers in cosmetic and dermatologic procedures.

The CDA encourages those individuals seeking a cosmetic or dermatologic procedure that includes the use of lasers to speak to their primary care physician for a referral to a dermatologist or other physician with formal laser training.

About the survey
Between October 25, 2011 and December 22, 2011 the Canadian Dermatology Association conducted an online survey of its members who reside and practice in Canada. The majority of the respondents identified their practices to be primarily medical and/or surgical in scope, with cosmetic and other forms of dermatology accounting for 15.6% of their practice activities. Any discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding to the nearest tenth of a percent (0.1).

About CDA
The Canadian Dermatology Association, founded in 1925, represents Canadian dermatologists. The association exists to advance the science and art of medicine and surgery related to the care of the skin, hair and nails; provide continuing professional development for its members; support and advance patient care; provide public education on sun protection and other aspects of skin health; and promote a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails.

SOURCE Canadian Dermatology Association

For further information:

For more information about CDA please contact:     For more information about W5 please contact:
Jennifer Scott, Communications & Projects Officer     Shannon Gallagher, CTV Communications Coordinator
Tel: 613.738.1748 Ext. 222 |     Tel: 416.384.4623 |


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