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ESSENCE
LASER SURGERY
Choose the safest and most suitable facial procedure for you. Skin and large greenish-gray moles that can almost cover the face. “Lasers are good with keloids,” adds Thomas Romo , III, M.D., F.A.C.S., a New York City lecturer and specialist in cosmetic surgery. Brooke Jackson, M.D., a skin-cancer surgery fellow at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, also finds that lasers are good for removing tattoos from Black women, although “the colors that come out best are dark blues and blacks; brighter ones are more difficult.”
Choose the safest and most suitable facial procedure for you. Skin and large greenish-gray moles that can almost cover the face. “Lasers are good with keloids,” adds Thomas Romo , III, M.D., F.A.C.S., a New York City lecturer and specialist in cosmetic surgery. Brooke Jackson, M.D., a skin-cancer surgery fellow at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, also finds that lasers are good for removing tattoos from Black women, although “the colors that come out best are dark blues and blacks; brighter ones are more difficult.”

What You Need to Know
If you opt for laser surgery, choosing the right surgeon can mean the difference between terrific and terrible results. Remember: Anyone with a medical degree can legally perform these operations, regardless of specialty or training. Get referrals from friends, family doctors and hospitals. And be sure your surgeon is not just “board-certified,” but certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and qualified to perform your procedure in a hospital.

A Black surgeon would be ideal, but the specialty is new; not many are trained in the technology. And few can afford the $60,000-to-$200,000 equipment. Most important, Matory says, “make sure the surgeon has significant experience in working with patients of color.”

Once you’ve found a surgeon, ask questions—it’s your right and your body. Romo advises, “Be sure the person you’re dealing with has handled many, many cases.”

Ask the cost of the initial procedure and the estimated number of follow-up treatments, if any. Prices range from $500 to $5,000 for resurfacing, $750 to $5,000 for removal of dark spots or freckles, and $400 to $1,400 for hair removal, depending on the number of treatments. Most insurance won’t cover the tab.

If after research, serious thought and a look at your pocketbook, you find that you’re not an ideal candidate for laser surgery, consider other option. Kathryn Khadija Leverette, certified medical-asethetics specialist and owner of Oakland’s Solutions Center, suggests that you consider “noninvasive peels by someone experienced in dealing with Black skin.” For acne-prone skin and dark spots,she prefers peels and recommends, for starters, either an enzyme, lactic-acid or glycolic-acid peel,which costs from $30 to $200.

Romo’s final word of advice: “Look at all the choices before deciding on laser surgery, because it may be right for you.”
For free surgeon referrals and information, contact:

• the American Society of Plastic and Reconstruction Surgeons, Inc.,(800) 635-0635
• the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (800) 441-2737
• the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery, (800) 332-3223
• the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
135 E. 74th Street, New York City, NY 10021
Phone: 212.288.1500