BMLA highlights laser and IPL safety risks in newly released COVID-19 guidance

03 Jun 2020

The British Medical Laser Association (BMLA) has released a new guidance document on the resumption of laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) services post COVID-19 lockdown.

The document was authored by BMLA president Dr Vishal Madan for and on behalf of the BMLA and explores risk assessment and risk management of lasers, aerosols and COVID-19, discussing general hygiene, PPE, ventilation, smoke evacuation systems and equipment considerations.

Dr Madan stated, “As strategies to relax the COVID-19 lockdown are being discussed and implemented, many laser practitioners will seek to resume their services after a period of 10-12 weeks. This document specifically addresses challenges laser practitioners and clinic managers face while reopening their clinics to offer laser and IPL services; taking into account that the reproduction rate ‘R0 number’ for transmission of COVID-19 is 0.7-1 at the time of issuance of this guidance.”

He added, “Several clinics offer aesthetic treatments of which lasers and IPL form a component. As this document specifically addresses the challenges in resumption of laser/IPL skin services, the reader should refer to general guidance/publications issued by other organisations such as the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners on commencing non-laser treatments and non-dermatological laser/IPL services.”

Laser protection adviser and co-founder of the UK Council on Surgical Plumes, Mike Murphy, who assisted with the BMLA guidance, stated, "Viral components in laser plumes has been known about for some time in the medical laser community. The BMLA is concerned about raising the general awareness on this issue. That's why they contacted me to discuss the potential hazard associated with the Coronavirus. They wanted to ensure that their members, and all laser/IPL users, were properly advised about the risks involved with laser plume."

The guidance can be accessed here.

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