Penningtons Manches has been instructed to pursue a claim on behalf of a patient who sustained an injury after having intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment in hospital.
The patient’s right cheek, which had previously been scarred, was hyperpigmented. She was advised by the clinicians in the plastic surgery department at the hospital that the uneven appearance of her skin could be improved with IPL treatment.
Intense pulsed light is a technology that can be used to reduce areas of hyperpigmented skin. A broad spectrum of light is transmitted through a small hand piece which is gently placed over the area of skin to be treated. Cut-off filters in the hand piece change the wavelength range of the light spectrum, which allows the hand piece to be optimised for different skin types. The light penetrates the tissue and is absorbed by the melanin, damaging those cells. The body’s natural processes then remove the injured cells, thereby taking away the areas of hyperpigmentation.
At the start of the patient's hospital appointment, her cheek was anaesthetised and her eyes protected. The IPL device was then applied. Following the treatment, she sustained a burn to her cheek although she did not notice any burning during the procedure because of the loss of sensation caused by the anaesthetic.
An investigation subsequently confirmed that the energy emitted from the hand piece was too high for the registered setting and that the high energy output had caused the burn.
Arran Macleod, a product liability and clinical negligence solicitor at Penningtons Manches LLP, said: “IPL is a useful technology for patients wishing to improve the appearance of scars or areas of their skin that appear uneven. However, we have seen in many situations how this non-invasive treatment can cause injury, whether by fault of the manufacturer or the clinician handling the device.
"In cases like this, patients may be able to pursue either a clinical negligence or a product liability claim. Our team's specialist knowledge enabled us to advise this lady on the issues in each type of claim and the best approach to suit her specific case."
If you have received IPL treatment and experienced a poor outcome, the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches would be happy to discuss this further with you to assess whether you may have a claim for compensation.