Atrophy and Neuralgia after My IPL and Radiofrequency Treatment in Palm Harbor, FL

I received a fotofacial using Syneron’s EMAX Machine (part of the Triniti treatment series) with their ELOS technology – bipolar radiofrequency and IPL aka intense pulsed light. this treatment was done at Timeless Md Spa (now called Timeless MD Surgical). This was the only treatment I have ever done to my face.  After the treatment, I believe I experienced the following based upon the doctor’s explanations who treated me and journal research:

  • Facial fat loss on the areas damaged by the treatment.
  • Dermal atrophy (fat atrophy)
  • Thermal damage
  • Crepey skin
  • Nerve damage to the ocular and facial area (trigeminal neuralgia type of pain).
  • Orbital fat prolapse
  • Suspected muscle damage to the eye and eye area

These are all words dermatologists and plastic surgeons have used to describe the changes they have seen in my skin and in regards to my eye.  The cause is attributed to overtreatment (too much energy) from the radiofrequency from the treatment and radiofrequency used too close to the eye area.  It is 2.5 years after my treatment and currently these adverse affects appear to be irreversible as they have not improved.

I addition, I experienced (and still have) the following unrelenting eye symptoms.

  • Discomfort
  • Eye pain
  • Pain with eye movements
  • Tightness over the eye area
  • Increased pain with driving, walking around outside, or any distance vision use
  • Dry eye
  • Eye that fatigue quickly with use
  • Blurry spots in my vision

These symptoms have significantly affected the quality of my life and have not subsided as I had hoped.  They happened subsequent to receiving one treatment performed by a PA in Palm Harbor, FL. These symptoms did not occur before my treatment.

Look at the before and after photos along with the documentation and determine your own opinion on the technology, treatment and possible side effects.  Read the section on lawsuits that are happening due to patient damages from laser or light based treatments.  This can happen to you.

If you are planning on having treatment, research who will be treating you.  I suggest going with a doctor – a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, that has performed many treatments – as suggested in many of the articles.  No laser or light based cosmetic treatment is without risk and you can experience permanent damage from these treatments.

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34 thoughts on “Atrophy and Neuralgia after My IPL and Radiofrequency Treatment in Palm Harbor, FL

  1. Thank you so much! I was going to have this procedure but after reading your experience, there is no way I’m going thru with it. I’m not in FL, but when I went for my consult in my state, they didn’t tell me any of this could happen. They said the worst thing that could happen is I wouldn’t see any changes and possibly have to repeat the procedure. There is no way I’m risking it.

  2. Thank you for writing about this very dangerous procedure. The company who makes the equipment and the people who use it should be held accountable.

    John Dallinger

  3. Yes, I see it completely!! A picture is worth a thousand words. Thank you for taking the time to create this site and warn others. I truly hope you find a total resolution!! Hopefully, others will heed your information and consider the risk to benefit.

  4. All complications should be listed on the consent form in order to weigh the risk to benefit.

  5. I agree with Michelle, ALL possible complications should be listed on the consent form. I too was damaged by a light procedure. There was NO mention of fat loss on the consent. NO mention of potential eye damage on the consent. The general public is being duped into thinking these devices are harmless, when in reality, they can be very dangerous. The public is being scammed. I hope that someday the dangers will be common knowledge, just like when it came out that smoking causes lung cancer.

  6. From reading your website information and others like Real Self and the Laser Support Group, bad results can happen and the lasers are far from an exact science as no one is really monitoring or studying the output they really put out. Doctors seem reluctant to report bad results due to accountability so the situation may not get better. Spa owners are not usually doctors they cannot even report the results so many injuries do not get reported period and few patients know they can report them.
    The pictures speak volumes. I’m sorry your eyes were harmed and that they treated so close to your eyes. The safety of these machines (this one in particular with the dual output of RF and IPL) in the eye area has not been determined so injuries can happen.

  7. I would like to thank to you for that professional guidance at your site. We are looking forward to the start of my school research and the overall preparation would never have been complete without consulting your website.

    • I’ve treid many creams and moisturized recommended by doctors but they haven’t helped. I’ve mostly been told to baby my skin and stay out of the sun.

      The doctors currently acknowledge that my skin and underlying fat has been compromised and at this point, will not improve. They suggest not doing any more lasers – which would create more damage. One suggested hyperbaric oxygen – which I did do recently and wish I had known about it earlier on when it could have helped. It was pricey and I did not see improvement in my skin or get improvement with my eye pain.

      The only option for the skin cosmetically is fat grafting which is very risky around the eyes, and long-term, could become lumpy. It is an option frought with complication potential. I have been told that since the skin is so thin under my eyes now that fillers will make it look even more blue and icky and would not be a great option. So at nearly 10 months out, it appears I will not see any improvement with my skin or my eye pain. Once a year hits and there is no improvement, I will consider what to do in general. For any legal actions, I have two years from the date of injury to file. Lawyers consider the damage permanent if it exists one year after the injury. Most plastic surgeons want you to wait a year before they will do anything as well. Have you received help?

  8. Thanks for your time and consideration of people who have been damaged from cosmetic procedures by making this site available.

  9. You are a woman of integrity and courage to post this site and photos. From an injured and fearful state, that any human would feel in your shoes, you found the courage to do the right thing; to share your story and protect the public. Doctors and Med spas who do Lasers on the other hand, scurry like cowards at the first sign they have damaged a patient. Not only an insult to the patient who ends up abandoned, but where is the responsibility of the medical community to PROTECT THE PUBLIC? If they won’t acknowledge damage in their patients, how can they learn from their mistakes or re-examine the technology’s safety and efficacy to ensure they don’t repeat the damage to the next patient? The continued false advertising and the secretive covering up, is of Gary Sandusky proportions. As is the ongoing damage done to the lives of the innocent people who trusted the plastics, cosmetic derm, and laser industries.

    A board certified dermatologist, and laser “expert” trained by, and colleague of, “world renowned” Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick, self proclaimed Laser “pioneer”, mutilated my once healthy, beautiful face. So be careful with the idea that “finding the right doctor” will protect you. Lasers are dangerous and unpredictable. Because no long term studies have been done to ascertain safety and efficacy, they have no idea what to do to help you when your face begins down the path of progressive cellular death, otherwise known as cellular apoptosis and permanent DNA damage. Watching your face die before your eyes and age at ten times the rate of normal aging, is a cruel path to walk.

  10. For anyone who reads this and thinks this “type” of laser might be bad but others are different…..All types of lasers have these risks. Not just Radiofrequency. Docs may tell you, “well, that was the “old” version, this new and improved version is different”….Run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit. LASERS of all kinds are not regulated, and cause the same types of damage (perhaps to varying degrees, or dependent on laser malfunction, or settings too high?). Bottom line: fat melts when heat is applied. Not rocket science. If you don’t believe it, go put some dense animal fat in a skillet; even on the lowest setting, it liquifies.

  11. I went to Prevea Plastic Surgeons in Green Bay, Wisconsin and had fraxel for a slight case of malasma on my cheeks, and my face and my life have been destoyed since. That was on November 21st 2011. They did not want to treat me after they ruined my face, nor did they help me, instead they were rude and uncaring. I died that day and have not really been living since. I ‘am on anti-depressant medication now, and went through counseling, but when I look in the mirror I just want to die. I hope someone would come up with something to help us all, or a lawyer would have enough guts to represent us in a class action law suit. It’s all about the money, and no one seems to care. God Bless you all for helping all us get through another day. Thank you, Julie Hermann

  12. So you had both done at the same time? How do you know if the damage was done by ipl or Radiofrequency? I doubt it was done by Radiofrequency…

    • Radiofrequency has a history of fat loss and damage when used at higher settings. IPL has a history of second degree burns when used at higher settings. The physicians believe it was the radiofrequency that caused the atrophy since it penetrates more deeply that IPL and has a proven record of damage when used on thinner skin at higher settings – hence why the directions say to turn down the radiofrequency when over areas of thinner skin or bony prominences.

  13. Under the updates, my story was posted about corneal nerve damage when Hope Mason who worked for Dr. James B Destephens from Gainesville, Fl at Youthful Images treated my jaw line while I was sitting up instead of lying down and ignored me yelling out in pain when I could see more light then I should have been able to see during the procedure causing chronic dry eye and light sensitivty. Confocal exams showed corneal nerve damage. It has been 2 years and I still have significant problems and have spend thousands of dollars in treatment and yet Dr. James Destephens still hasn’t refunded my money or acknowledged his involvement by hiring a lady without adequatly training her as she was not certified by the state as an Electrologist as required by law. Fl laws are not very good and even when this illegal activity was reported, nothing was done as Dr. James Destephens, prior Cardiologist in Gainesville Fl is a very good manipulator and liar. With some of the communciations that took place after my injury, he lied about his ability to be readily available when his office staff had clearly told me he was out of state and further lied when he said I never contacted him again and didnt try to seek their help within few days when I have cell phone records that show my numerous calls to their location. I was told he was out of town. Even when he finally learned what happened he STILL made NO effort to set anything straight and to re-evaluate his buisness pracrtices and the safety of IPL. He still has not given me my refund and expects that after my injury I would eiether go back to him or just forget my money after I have spent thousands of dollars on treatment for something that should have never have happened. He attributes this to “buyers remorse” and states because I am a health care professional myself, I am making these symptoms up and can convince an Ophthamagologist that it is real…..see how his mind works…..he is no more then a copensated psycopath. A very good manipulator. However, one does not make up corneal nerve damage as seen by confocal exam nor the pain and suffering many have witnessed me go through. I am past my 2 years statute of limitations, I have nothing to gain from this other than trying to prevent this from happening to as many other people as possible! The fact that a medical doctor with a Cardiology background’s sole work is this weight/loss laser hair removal clinic, speaks for itself……he is a terrible man who was arrested for attempted strangulation of spouse last year…who is the characterless person capable of lying here? Hope Mason, the lady who did the treatment was trying to get rich quick after her daugher dated Zimmerman, the man that shot and killed Treyvon Martin in Florida by trying to sell their story for news coverage….
    Unfortutantely there is nothing good about weight loss/laser hair removal clinics….its just a money making business, that is their sole purpose. It truly is a buyer beware issue as the laws are terrible. For example, in Fl you have 2 years to sue for medical malpractice and it is then difficult still. You usually need an exert in the same field….so even though it was my eyes that were damaged and you would think an Ophthamologist would be the best person to explain what happened, the main expert witness would be some other person who also does laser hair removal treatments etc…Also Fl requires that the person administering treatment be a certified Electrologist and that they are supervised with doctor on site or readily available. None of this was true in my case but the Fl dep of Health still didnt do anythign.. Even the laws we do have are not strictly enforced. There is NO ONE that can protect you from this except yourself. It is truly buyer beware.

    I think we should all file FDA med watch reports for the device itself:

    If injured, you should write to people on the state board of medicine as their emails are public information. I still need to do this myself. You can also file a complaint with the Americal Medical Assocation. You can write to BBB as well (not sure if they would do much but the more neg reports a business gets the higher the chance eventually something would be done or at least people will get to read the bad reviews. Write bad reviews on may various review sites. Write to state leaders and try to get them more aware of this growing problem. We could also consider writing a petition to try to get laws strengthened or reinforced better.

    In order to make this website show up quicker in google searches, it has to identfity key words. We need key words for the places where our injuries occured, the people that did them, what happened to us, etc.

    When I typed Hope Mason and Dr. James DeStephens, this site came up quick since I wrote about both of them. When you just type one name, it doesn’t come up. It has to identify multiple words.

    Going to try this:
    Youthful Images Gainesville Fl
    Youthful Images dangers of IPL
    Youthful Images James DeStephens
    Dr. James DeStephens Cardiologist Revew
    Youthful Images weight loss clinic danger
    Dr. James B DeStephens bad review
    James DeStephens arrrested for strangulation
    IPL and risk and Youthful Images Group on
    Youthful Images Living Social
    Youthful Images Yelp Review
    Dr. James DeStephens Gainesville Fl
    Youthful Images Gainesville Address
    James B De Stephens
    2341 NW 41st St
    Ste B
    Gainesville, FL 32606
    Youthful Images phone number (352) 371-1804
    IPL eye damage Youthful Images
    Intense Pulsed Light therapy dangers risks

    The more posts your site get also, the higher the likelihood it will show up earlier in a search as key words are used more frequently i would imagine!

    People need to know what they are risking so that they can avoid this type of treatment and definetely places such as Youthful Images or Timeless Spa. IPL is far more dangerous than a regular lasor.

    We need to work together to prevent as much harm as possible by increasing awareness of the risks of IPL, the type of people that handle them and the lack of adequate regulation and enforcement of laws coupled with some terrible laws that don’t protect the consumer but instead help unethical doctors like Dr. James DeStephens.

  14. Please take a look at these websites you are not alone.
    Website IPL & Laser Damage Support Forum:
    Website Regarding Illegal MedSpa’s
    The Doctors TV Show Cosmetic Laser Burns, Laser Hair Removal, MedSpa Dangers Video
    YouTube Laser Injuries – Dr. Amy Ortega
    MedSpa Investagation YouTube
    Scarred for Your Life – Laser Hair Removal YouTube
    MedSpa Deception – YouTube
    IPL DANGERS – YouTube
    Laser Hair Removal CAN YouTube
    Laser Hair Removal Injury Dark Skin – YouTube
    Patients of Pure MedSpa/Brite Smile formerly in Malls of America including Oregon – Blog
    Unregulated MedSpa’s – YouTube

    • Both can cause damage to your skin. Radio frequency has been estabilshed in medical journal to cause fat atrophy if the settings are too deep. There are many reports of IPL by patients of skin damage.

  15. Hi, would you mind taking a look at my pics and advising of your thoughts.I too am experiencing eye problems. Thanks for your time.

    • I can look at your pictures. I’m not a medical expert, but I know what changes I experienced and what it looked like.

      • Thank you. One other question if that’s ok? Did you experience tightness in your cheeks as well? If so when did it start? Right away or was it delayed?

  16. Who is the eye dr who could measure nerves? Ultherapy destroyed my eyes and my vision is being affected.

    • It depends on where you live. If you have a corneal nerve injury, you need a machine to do a confocal microscopy exam. Most of the larger University Hospitals have them in the US. If you had the treatment close to your eyes, defiantly get an exam. If you vision is affected, that is an asap sort of thing – any qualified doctor can do a basic exam for vision so go!

      • Hi There, I know these posts are old but I am desperate. Radio frequency applied to my face and eyes one year ago has caused dabilitating results and caused never damage to my face, complete facial fat cell death and an entire laundry list of eye pain, double vision and eyes sinking into head. I can’t get the before pics from the meds spa ( they claim the lost them) so I have nothing for anyone to compare to. No doctor wants to get involved- they want to sell more treatments. I can send you a couple pics if you want. I have all of the problems you listed. Would love to email offline. I guess I am looking for advice and suggestions.

    • Any corneal specialist eye doctor will have a specular microscopy or confocal microscope. Each instrument does the same thing. Best bet is a university hospital, as they do tons of research. That’s where I am headed next.

  17. I was trying to get rid of undereye bags and have had 2 treatments of thermismooth. I guess the fat loss in that area would be ok but now I am worried about eye injury.

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