Public Release: 

Few adverse events found in noninvasive, minimally invasive cosmetic procedures

The JAMA Network Journals

A tiny fraction of adverse events occurred after dermatologists performed more than 20,000 noninvasive and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, according to a study published online by JAMA Dermatology.

Cosmetic dermatology is a well-developed field and data suggest the procedures are associated with a low rate of adverse events, according to background information in the study.

Researcher Murad Alam, M.D., M.S.C.I., of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago, and co-authors characterized the incidence of adverse events associated with a subset of common cosmetic dermatologic procedures that utilized laser and energy devices, as well as injectable neurotoxins and fillers.

Data was collected for 13 weeks at eight centers for cosmetic dermatology between March and December 2011 from 23 dermatologists. A total of 20,399 procedures were studied and 48 adverse events were reported, for an adverse event rate of 0.24 percent, according to study results. Overall, 36 procedures resulted in at least one adverse event for a rate of 0.18 percent. Adverse events most commonly happened after procedures on the cheeks, followed by nasolabial (the so-called smile lines) and eyelid procedures. Adverse events were most commonly lumps or nodules, persistent redness or bruising, skin darkening, or erosions or ulcerations. No serious adverse events were reported.

"In the hands of well-trained dermatologists, these procedures are safe, with aggregate adverse event rates of well under 1 percent. Moreover, most adverse events are minor and rapidly remitting, and serious adverse events were not seen. Patients seeking such procedures can be reassured that, at least in the hands of trained board-certified dermatologists, they pose minimal risk," the study concludes.


(JAMA Dermatology. Published online November 5, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.2494. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: An author made conflict of interest disclosures. The study was supported by departmental research funds from the Department of Dermatology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Media Advisory: To contact author Murad Alam, M.D., M.S.C.I., call Marla Paul at 312-503-8928 or email

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