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Pennsylvania And New Jersey Laser Injury Lawyer

An alarming trend has developed where non-physicians are performing cosmetic procedures. Consumers have been led to believe that licensed technicians, estheticians, cosmetologists, and other persons who do not hold medical degrees can safely perform laser hair removal or laser skin rejuvenation procedures.

The medical spa industry has grown significantly. Americans spend over $10 billion per year for cosmetic medical procedures. Industry analysts have projected that the total market for cosmetic procedures and medical spa services will be valued at nearly $15 billion and growth is projected.

Despite marketing efforts by spas, so-called “medspas” or “medi-spas,” and other interested corporations profiting from the growth in the medical spa industry, these procedures are not risk-free and can cause permanent scarring, skin discoloration, and burns. They include:

  • Laser hair removal
  • Laser hair reduction
  • Intense pulsed light or IPL hair removal
  • Cosmetic laser procedures
  • Laser rejuvenation
  • Facial rejuvenation
  • Skin rejuvenation

A 2003 survey conducted by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) showed that nearly 41 percent of responding physicians reported an increase in patients seeking treatment due to damage caused by untrained, non-physicians performing laser and light rejuvenation techniques, chemical peels, laser hair removal and other skin procedures.

Lasers and IPL (intense pulsed light) devices used to perform hair removal or to perform other dermatological procedures are classified by the FDA as prescription medical devices. The FDA has published that lasers should be used only under the direction of a licensed practitioner. Each state is permitted to regulate the use of medical lasers and can define who can or cannot use such devices.

Regulations are different in each state. New Jersey is in the forefront by offering the greatest protection to consumers. In New Jersey, laser hair removal can only be performed by a physician licensed by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners. The use of a laser or IPL device to perform hair removal procedures or skin rejuvenation cannot be delegated to a nurse, technician or anyone else who does not hold a license issued by the Board of Medical Examiners.

In Pennsylvania, the published regulations allow a physician to delegate laser procedures to anyone deemed qualified. As a consequence, consumers are at greater risk of injury, and may not realize this because of deceptive marketing campaigns that advertise such procedures as non-invasive and safe.

In Pennsylvania, the law involving the delegation of medical services permits procedures to be performed by “technicians” if these services are rendered under the supervision of the physician, and if the delegation is consistent with standards of acceptable medical practice embraced by the physician community. The statutes and regulations do not expressly state that the physician even needs to be on site. Because of this, spas affiliate themselves with physicians to gain the use of a medical laser – which can only be sold or leased to a licensed practitioner – and then profit from its use.

Consumers, under Pennsylvania law, are required to be informed that the laser procedure has been delegated by a physician, and the facility must verify that the consumer does not object to the delegation. Moreover, by law, the physician remains responsible for any complication.

The Swain Law Firm, P.C., can evaluate your claim if you have been harmed as a result of undergoing laser hair removal or laser skin rejuvenation. Contact us at 215-550-1968 or through our online form.