The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) has issued consumer safety tips for patients considering treatment involving lasers, light devices, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and other medical procedures, and emphasizes that such services should be performed only by a physician or under direct physician supervision.
"Lasers and light devices, for example, can be very successful in eliminating visible blood vessels associated with rosacea, and they may also be used to reduce severe redness," said Dr. Roy Geronemus, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center and president-elect of ASDS. "However, consumers must recognize that the safety and effectiveness of medical procedures depend on professional knowledge and skill, as well as a proper diagnosis and full consideration of the patient's skin type and overall treatment needs."
The educational campaign by ASDS was prompted by a survey of its 2,400 members, in which 45 percent of 480 respondents reported an increase over the past year in the number of patients being treated for complications. The ASDS attributed this trend to a proliferation of spas, salons and "walk-in" clinics offering services by non-physicians who may perform medical procedures outside their scope of training or with inadequate or no physician supervision.
In the survey, the dermatologic surgeons reported treating 95 cases of complications due to surgical procedures experienced by rosacea patients, exceeded only by 111 reported cases of complications following laser hair removal. Among the complications cited as most common were misdiagnosis, delayed treatment of rosacea and inappropriate therapy.
The ASDS recommends that such medical procedures be performed by or under the care of a board-certified dermatologic surgeon or other qualified physician experienced with these procedures, and at a facility where a physician is present during the procedure. To minimize potential complications, the ASDS offers the following safety tips:
Make sure the doctor is on site during the procedure.
Ask questions about qualifications, experience and side effects.
Find out if the procedure is right for your skin type.
Ask for a patch test first if you have sensitive skin or are unsure about a procedure.
Call your physician immediately if you experience pain, discomfort or discoloration after your procedure.
Additional information and referrals to board-certified dermatologic surgeons can be obtained by calling the ASDS hotline at 1-800-441-ASDS (2737), or by visiting its Web site at www.asds.net.