Original Article By Julie Ricevuto. It's not all that common for a cosmetic procedure to go wrong, but when it does, it goes really wrong. Unfortunately, one woman learned this fact first hand after receiving a routine laser treatment that ended up causing horrific burns on her body.
Maria Natale, 52, claims that after receiving a laser treatment at South Shore Laser in Babylon, Long Island, she developed severe, second-degree burns that will take up to a year to heal, according to her dermatologist. “The pain [post-treatment] was so bad, I actually started trembling,’’ Natale told The Post in an interview. “I thought, ‘Hurry up and get home and take the clothes off!’”
This wasn't Natale's first time at South Shore Laser. In fact, she had received a previous laser hair removal treatment there so she felt comfortable returning for a laser appointment to target sunspots on her back and stomach. Unfortunately, it was this second appointment that ended up injuring her.
"'It burns, it’s burning!'" she claims she said during the appointment, to which the employee responded, "It’s normal." Ultimately, this sensation did not indicate that the appointment was proceeding as planned, and instead Natale was being burned repeatedly with the laser. After an extremely painful drive home, Natale says developed painful, red marks along her body. “They started off as red stripes, and then it started blistering," says Natale. "The pain was horrific."
After heading back to the laser center to show the owner her burns, Natale filed a lawsuit that alleges the treatment was “performed negligently, carelessly, recklessly, and in such a manner” that “resulted in severe and extensive burning to the skin.”
Unfortunately, Greenwich dermatologist Mitchell Ross, MD says burns like this are certainly possible during laser treatments. "Any procedure carries with it some inherent risks," says Dr. Ross. "Burns and other complications are a risk of aesthetic and laser treatments, a patient should understand and accept these risks before consenting to treatment."
In order to prevent these kinds of burns from happening to you, there are several factors to look out for when heading in for a laser treatment. "Tan skin at the time of treatment is one of the most common risk factors [for burns]," explains Dr. Ross. "IPL and lasers used for many procedures are absorbed by a specific chromophore in the lesion to be treated. Tan skin will also absorb more energy and this can result in a burn."
Additionally, both poor technique used by the administrator of the laser or machine malfunction can also result in burns. According to Dr. Ross, a patient's best defense in minimizing their chance of experiencing side effects post-procedure is to first select a qualified, experienced laser technician and to avoid tanning prior and immediately after a treatment. Also, it's absolutely vital to communicate clearly with your technician. "If you feel that a laser remains hot on your skin and doesn't seem to cool down quickly, let the technician know. The technician can adjust settings or stop the treatment to make a burn much less likely," explains Dr. Ross. So, never feel awkward or embarrassed to speak up, after all, it could be the difference between severe side effects or glowing, healthy skin.