Dr. Lisa Kellett's tips for cosmetic laser treatments
Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett speaks with CTV's W5 in this undated photo.
Published Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:09PM EST
Before you go, ask the questions below. Medi-Spas and Salons operate largely without any regulatory body or professional supervision in many provinces. Relying on websites, blogs and discussion boards it can be difficult to make an educated, informed and most importantly safe choice. It's up to you to ask the questions that could make the difference between a safe and effective treatment and a potentially hazardous one.
Is the facility medically supervised -- and if it is, is the physician on site or functioning remotely as a medical director?
Laser and light therapy, Injectable treatments and skin treatments including peels and spot treatments should be overseen by a physician. The aesthetician, technician or nurse treating you may not be qualified and trained to perform your treatment. Having a physician on site means that medical best-practices are in place and should anything go wrong a doctor is available to rectify the problem.
What are the physician's credentials?
When it comes to you skin, you should seek out a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Beware of "cosmetic medicine physicians" who may lack training and experience. You can find out if a doctor is board-certified by contacting the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
Will I meet with a doctor before the procedure?
A doctor should always see you before, not during and certainly not after, your treatment. A physician will be able to review your medical history, examine you, and help you weigh treatment options ensuring that you are a suitable and candidate for treatment.
Who will perform the procedure?
In some provinces, it's legal for a nurse or laser technician to perform non-invasive treatments under the direct supervision of a physician. You are entitled to be informed regarding the staff's training and experience, so don't be afraid to ask questions!
Does the facility use Health Canada approved products?
If prescription medication or products are to be used make sure the products have a DIN (Drug Identification Number). There continue to be cases of bootlegged or diluted Botox and injectable filler so make sure you are the care of trusted medical facility.
What should I expect?
During a consultation, a doctor should provide realistic expectations and even offer before-and-after photos as long as they are not used to mislead patients. Ask if the photos are of actual patients, and ask if you can speak with someone who has had the treatment before as often times staff are a great first-hand account of expected results. At the same time, with most procedures there are usually minor and temporary risks involved including irritation, swelling, and temporary pain. In some cases burns and scarring can result from a laser treatment so ask if a physician will be available to follow up in case of complications.
How long and how much?
Make sure you are aware if multiple treatments are required as with most skin concerns, it could take several treatments to achieve your desired results. Lastly, to avoid any issues, ask for the total price up front, including physician's fees, drug costs, and follow-up visits.