Dr. Bargman's advice for cosmetic laser treatment
Dr. Howard Bargman, the director of laser at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, speaks with CTV's W5 in this undated photo.
Published Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:07PM EST
Whose hand is holding the laser?
This was the title of an article in the New York Times several years ago. It highlights the sad truth that there are no significant regulations that dictate who can perform laser treatments in many jurisdictions. In Ontario, to the best of my knowledge, anyone can answer an advertisement and become the "technician" who fires laser beams at your skin in a spa or "medispa." The term "certified technician" has no legal or legislated meaning and can mean anything that the person wants it to mean.
Prospective patients/customers owe it to themselves to do their due diligence and ask in some detail as to the qualifications of the person wearing the white coat with the laser in their hand.
It is a sad fact that many physicians and owners of spas where laser is performed have limited knowledge of laser safety. I have inspected several medical offices and spas and am mortified at the frequent deficiencies that I find. These deficiencies raise the risk of complication from the laser procedures or the ability to deal with a complication in a timely basis.
I many ways, it is the "wild west" out there with unqualified people vying for your cosmetic dollars. My colleagues and I frequently see complications following procedures performed by unqualified "practitioners." Cosmetic procedures can be risky enough in qualified hands and so you should pick and choose your provider carefully.
Dr. Howard Bargman is the director of laser at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Toronto