Risk laser treatment?

The topic of safety plays a particularly important role in times like these. We therefore take a closer look at the topic of laser treatment together with Dr. Sonja Sattler, founder of the renowned Rosenpark Clinic and Belami. How safe are treatments with artificial light?

Whether disturbing veins, annoying hair, pigment disorders or wrinkles – the possibilities of a laser treatment are very diverse. Unfortunately, many cosmetic studios and alternative practitioners have discovered this over the last few years. However, the high-energy light of the laser can not only help to get one or the other blemish under control, it can even aggravate a problem or even cause new problems if used incorrectly.

Since April 1, 2019, a new regulation* has been in force in Germany in this regard, which states that only specialists in skin and venereal diseases or specialists in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery are allowed to use lasers. The legislator has thus made it clear that no other doctor – and certainly no non-medical practitioner or cosmetician – may operate a laser.

Dr. Sonja Sattler very much welcomes this regulation. With over 20 years of professional experience in the field of aesthetic dermatology, she knows what can go wrong with laser therapy and what this regulation may mean for other areas in aesthetic medicine.

Why does laser treatment belong in the hands of doctors?

Dr. Sattler: “Fortunately, we have a new regulation for laser treatment in Germany. And for this we have to give a lot of praise to many colleagues, but also to politics! Finally, a limit has been set to the proliferation of laser devices in unprofessional hands. Until last year, a simple laser safety course was sufficient to buy a laser device and then to treat patients with it. A laser is a very high-energy device. Not only can it produce good effects, but it can also produce complications up to scarring or even loss of vision. Therefore, it is of very great importance for us physicians that the topic of laser therapy has now been newly regulated by law!”

What exactly can happen if the laser treatment is wrong?

The background: lasers are devices with a special wave light, i.e. a light with very strong energy and a certain wavelength. During a laser treatment, this energy always hits a certain target structure of our tissue. Either on the water in the skin for skin rejuvenation or on the blood pigment in the veins, which can then be sclerosed. Laser therapy can also be used to remove pigment spots or dark hair.

“If the laser is applied to the wrong laser wrong place, it can destroy pigments in such a way that as a result a white spot appears. If you apply a rejuvenation laser with too much energy, scars are produced. With a device that targets blood pigment, then scarring or hyperpigmentation can occur as well. This means laser treatment is not easy and requires a lot of experience. That is why it is so important that lasers remain in medical hands with the appropriate training and are not simply applied somehow, in some studios and stores,” says Dr. Sattler.

Will the same be true for filler treatments?

The subject of filler treatments in non-medical hands is certainly one of the most difficult topics of our time in aesthetic medicine. Patients place themselves in supposedly trustworthy hands because, of course, a cosmetician or a non-medical practitioner can also create trust and establish a close bond with the patient or, in this case, the customer. If he then offers a filler treatment, he is allowed to do so. In Germany, fillers are considered a medical product and not a medicine. Therefore, any free person among us can purchase fillers and then inject them. This can have fatal consequences, as shown by the case of a cosmetician who has since been sentenced, or even cases of blindness after filler injections.

We will report on the current status in terms of filler treatments!

* § 5 Para. 2 (Specialized knowledge for the use of laser equipment and intensive light sources).

(2) Ablative laser applications or applications in which the integrity of the epidermis as a protective barrier is violated, the treatment of vascular changes and of pigmented skin changes, the removal of tattoos or permanent makeup, and applications with optical radiation whose effects are not limited to the skin and its appendages, such as fatty tissue reduction, may be performed only by

1.A specialist in skin and venereal diseases; or

2.a specialist in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery.

Contrary to the draft bill of May 30, 2018, this means that only specialists in skin and venereal diseases or specialists in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery may operate lasers to remove tattoos.

With this, the legislator also clarifies that no other physician – and thus also no non-medical practitioner – may operate such a laser anymore.