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Study: 75% of Laser Surgery Lawsuits Cite Non-Physician Operators


Laser hair removal was the most litigated.

A study called, “Causes of Injury and Litigation in Cutaneous Laser Surgery,” published in the March 2022 issue of  Dermatologic Surgery analyzes cases of liability claims due to a cutaneous laser surgery device that took place in the United States from 2012 to 2020. It found that of the 69 cases of liability claims due to a cutaneous laser surgery device between 2012 and 2020, 49 (71%) involved a non-physician operator, according to the press release. It was shown that laser hair removal was most litigated (44 cases, 64%) and in second was laser skin rejuvenation (20 cases, 30%).

These findings were consistent with laser surgery litigation trends from 1985 to 2012, but they suggested that their findings may underestimate the frequency of injury and litigation caused by unsupervised non-physician operators. While lasers can be extremely safe and effective when used correctly, they can also cause painful burns, permanent scars and other adverse effects if used incorrectly, the press released continued.

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) then stated that it opposes unsupervised non-physician operators performing any laser or energy-based procedures of any type. The associated explain that there is a lack of consistent state regulations on the use of lasers and has an article, “ASDSA Position Statement on Laser Use” that provides protocols and safeguards that must be in place to protect patients.


Study finds that unsupervised non-physician operators are cited in 75% of laser surgery lawsuits. Yahoo. Press release. Published March 18, 2022. Accessed March 22, 2022. https://www.yahoo.com/now/study-finds-unsupervised-non-physician-110000312.html

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