Laser safety tips

March 10, 2015

Safe laser operation practices protect not only patients but also staff. Experts offer these as their top safety tips

Safe laser operation practices protect not only patients but also staff. Experts offer these as their top safety tips:

Take a Course

Bruce Katz, M.D., director of the Juva Skin and Laser Center in Midtown Manhattan, recommends dermatologists follow strict laser safety guidelines.

“People can learn those in a laser safety course. It’s like learning to drive a boat or driving a car. You have to take a course and make sure exactly what precautions to take,” Dr. Katz says.

Train Staff Adequately

Terrence Keaney, M.D., director of men’s cosmetic center at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, in Washington, DC, says dermatologists need to oversee proper training of the staff.

“It’s not see one; do one. [Staff] should log a significant amount of cases,” Dr. Keaney says.

Have a Dedicated Safety Officer 

Vic Narurkar, M.D., who has 16 lasers at his cosmetic-only dermatology practice in San Francisco, says dermatologists who offer lasers should have a dedicated laser safety officer.

“You need to train your staff on optic … safety and that is all done through the laser safety officer,” Dr. Narurkar says. “We have one in our office-that’s me. And I trained all my staff.”

Dr. Narurkar also recommends dermatologists capitalize on the in-services and training that most of the manufacturers provide.

Pay Attention to Details

Seemingly small precautions can make a big difference in the safety of a laser practice, Dr. Katz says. One example: Patients should never wear paper gowns. Why? They can catch fire. Cloth gowns are recommended for safety, according to Dr. Katz.