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North Carolina Laser Tattoo Removal Regulations

The North Carolina Medical Board states in its rules and regulations that a laser tattoo removal procedure qualifies as surgery and is therefore considered to be the practice of medicine. As such, it is subject to the laws that govern medical procedures. It doesn’t matter what type of laser technology you use – from the RevLite SI Q-switched laser, to the Quanta Q plus C skin care laser and Picosure laser with FOCUS Lens Array, it’s important to learn about the rules and regulations in Florida before opening your doors.

Who can perform laser tattoo removal services in North Carolina?

Since laser treatments are a medical procedure, only physicians licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board are allowed to provide treatment. According to the rules and regulations of the state, these physicians must be trained on the laser being used, with instruction on including laser safety and hands-on training.

It is also acceptable to delegate the procedure to non-physicians, as long as the procedure is supervised by the licensed physician and the laser technician is deemed qualified to perform the procedure. In such cases, the supervising physician is responsible for the actions of the delegate. Electrologists are not permitted to perform laser technology tattoo removal treatments, even under the supervision of a physician.

What is the supervising physician responsible for?

When delegating the procedure to a laser technician, the supervising physician must oversee the procedure both during and after it is performed. The North Carolina Medical Board doesn’t require the physician to physically oversee the procedure, but the physician must be on site and readily available at all times.

The supervising physician must also be immediately available if the patient needs assistance or if there is an emergency. If any medications are prescribed, the physician must make sure that the patient is given detailed instructions on the medication’s use.

If the physician abdicates these responsibilities, he or she is subject to disciplinary action. The North Carolina Medical Board is required to investigate any complaints and take action. This action ranges from private to public disciplinary action, depending on the severity of the violation, such as:

  • A disciplinary warning
  • Suspension
  • Revocation of the practitioner’s license
  • A fine

Who can own a laser tattoo removal facility?

Only licensed practitioners can own a facility that provides laser services for tattoo removal. In addition, the laser used for the treatment must be FDA-approved and must belong to the physician. If someone not licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board already owns a clinic that offers laser treatments for tattoo pigment removal or owns a medical laser, the following protocol must be followed in order to cooperate with the law:

  • Any laser devices must be sold to a licensed practitioner or laser operator.
  • The unlicensed owner of the facility is allowed to manage business affairs, such as marketing and billing, and to be compensated for these services by the licensed practitioner, as long as those responsibilities do not include practicing medicine.
  • Compensation must be salaried or hourly; it cannot be on a per-treatment or commission basis.
  • If the unlicensed owner learns the necessary skills and training, he or she can still perform laser tattoo removal procedures as a delegate under the supervision of the licensed practitioner.

Prerequisites to laser tattoo removal procedures

Prior to receiving laser tattoo removal services, a patient must be examined by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. This examination must include a physical check-up and a patient history evaluation that covers any pre-existing conditions. As with any other medical procedure, the physician will go over any potential risks or side effects of the treatment. If a patient is under the age of 18, he or she must have consent from a parent or guardian.

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice. For legal advice regarding laser tattoo removal procedures, contact the North Carolina medical board or call one of our reps at to discuss. Direct Regulations Consulting Line: 888-875-7001

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