The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

What are the risks / side effects of LASER treatment?

The response to LASER treatment is very variable and it is difficult to predict the exact outcome for each patient. You would expect to have some discomfort for the first few hours as well as redness and swelling for a few days. Some Lasers result in bruising. Uncommonly an adverse reaction such as a blister or a scab can occur. There may be a temporary loss/gain of pigment in the treated area which may last for several months or, rarely, be permanent.

Your Laser treatment may have to be delayed if you experience increased pigmentation in the area.

LASER treatment may trigger a cold sore in patients who have a history of cold sores previously and the herpes virus can infect the laser treatment site. If the skin is broken following treatment, there is a small risk of secondary bacterial infection which would present as a spreading redness and pain around the treatment site.

Scarring following any LASER treatment is very uncommon (unless undergoing focal ablative laser tretament, for which scarring is more common). If scarring does occur, it is most commonly a slight depression in the skin or a textural change. A thickened, lumpy red itchy/painful scar can develop but is unusual.

A lack of adverse reactions or scarring after a test or treatment does not exclude this risk with any subsequent treatment.