Laser skin rejuvenation (also known as ablative photorejuvenation or resurfacing) is the use of a laser to remove thin layers of the epidermis by breaking apart molecular bonds within skin cells, so that it regrows new cells. By this process, laser rejuvenation can remove abnormal pigmentation blotches, age spots, acne scars, wrinkles, warts, stretch marks, photoaging effects such as sunspots, and other unwanted features.
Laser rejuvenation can also tighten skin after liposuction and remove superficial skin cancers.
The lasers used are typically erbium or CO2 and can cause significant damage if used incorrectly. New techniques, such as the use of fractionated lasers can reduce side effects and improve healing time. The lasers can also be non-ablative (i.e. non-wounding), which stimulates collagen growth, albeit less effectively.
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There are risks involved with all cosmetic procedures, where clients and even staff can be harmed. Accidents can occur due to:
- Inadequate staff training, experience and supervision in the use of specialised equipment, application of medication and assessing the suitability of clients. Supervision of the use of a laser by a qualified and experienced practitioner should be sought after by clients rather than having procedures done by unsupervised beauticians without qualifications.
- The mis-matching of patients to procedures. Many procedures are only suitable for certain people or need to be tailored to the client. For the best results, the type of laser and its frequency, strength and duration will need to be matched to the client and their specific skin type. People with very dark skin or having active acne or a weak immune system or those that scar easily may not be suitable.
- The use of malfunctioning technology or outdated methods.
- Unusual allergic or other unexpected extreme reactions to cosmetic procedures in some clients.
The use of lasers on skin will carry specific risks, primarily burning, redness, swelling, itching, acne, hypopigmentation (loss of skin colour), bacterial or fungal infections, and scarring. If ablative lasers are used near the lower eye, the eyelid can turn inside out, requiring corrective surgery.
Experts in the field of laser skin rejuvenation can provide opinion on:
- Whether the standard of care provided by beauty clinic staff was reasonably competent, particularly about issues of negligence, malpractice and substances used.
- Whether a patient was adequately warned about possible side effects and whether an individual’s side effects are more severe than one can reasonably expect with laser rejuvenation.
- Whether patients were overpromised about the effectiveness or longevity of laser rejuvenation.
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The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:
- The need for a view or inspection of a location
- The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
- Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
- Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype