A complication of a YAG laser on the face.

Hi, during a YAG laser to spider veins on my face, I was burned on my cheek and on my nose. The procedure was done by a medical assistant or a nurse not the Doctor. After the scabs fell off, I went back to see the Doctor because both left indentions on my face. The doctor looked at the marks and he explained it might take a couple of months to heal. Since I was concerned about the indentations, I decided to see my regular dermatologist about the marks. He would not give me an answer because it's a colleague (another doctor) and he told me go see him (the other Doctor). The indentations are still there after 3 months. What should I do to smooth out the scars? How can I prevent this from happening to someone else? Can a medical assistant or a nurse give a YAG laser treatment in California? Thank you

I totally hear you on this. Unfortunately, California has very little regulation regarding who can operate a laser. The person operating your laser could have even been a “technician” which is generally a term used to describe someone with no medical training at all or an aesthetician.  


The YAG laser is a very long wavelength and is generally safe with two exceptions. It must always be used with eye protective shields and should not be usedat all around the eye area – it is very toxic to eyes (retinal damage). AND, it must be cooled very well between passes or burns can occur by heating up the epidermis too much. That means that when one pass is done there could be, for example, a rest break of at least 30-60 seconds with active cooling (an ice pack is fine) before the next pass is done.


Some ideas for you:


1. Could you go back to the doctor and show him/her what has occurred and give him/her the opportunity to correct this for you, hopefully at no charge to you?


 2. Ask your regular dermatologist for a referral to a dermatologist who specializes in laser work?


3. See our regional guide to dermatologists and how to find a good doctor.


Dr. B I




Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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