British surgeons denounce deregulation of laser and IPL systems for dermatology

March 25, 2008, London, England--The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), a not-for-profit organization established for the advancement of education and practice of aesthetic plastic surgery for public benefit, has denounced the British Department of Health's proposals to deregulate lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) technologies used for aesthetic purposes.

Laser therapy is one of the most common non-surgical procedures used in treating lines, wrinkles, scars, and damaged skin. Hair reduction/removal, treatment of vascular birthmarks, and tattoo removal can also be achieved with lasers. IPL is suitable for hair removal from larger areas such as backs and legs.

"In an environment where clinicians are asking for tighter regulations, it is absurd that politicians, who know very little about the limitations and complications of such treatments, should seek to further deregulate," says Douglas McGeorge, president of BAAPS and consulting plastic surgeon.

The proposed deregulation will mean that providers do not need to register with the Healthcare Commission to offer these treatments. Although lasers and IPL can be safe if administered in an appropriate environment and by a properly trained clinician, the public must be aware that these procedures do pose risks, which can range from irritated skin and blisters, to burns, pigment scarring (black spots) and sores.

"Sooner or later patients will suffer as a result of these political moves, and the government will have to take responsibility for their actions," McGeorge says.

For more information, go to British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

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