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Author: Anoma Ranaweera B.V.Sc; PhD (Clinical Biochemistry, University of Liverpool, UK); Copy Editor: Clare Morrison; Chief Editor: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, March 2014. Updated by Dr Todd Gunson, Dermatologist, Auckland, New Zealand, July 2014.
The acronym LASER stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. A laser works by emitting a wavelength of high energy light, which when focused on a certain skin condition creates heat and destroys diseased cells. Wavelength is measured in nanometres (nm).
Various kinds of lasers are available; they are differentiated by the medium that produces the laser beam. Each of the different types of lasers has a specific range of utility, depending on its wavelength and penetration.
Lasers work by emitting a wavelength of high energy light, which when focused on a certain skin condition will create heat and destroy diseased cells.
The following skin disorders can be treated with Er:YAG laser beams.
Typical settings employed for birthmarks, age spots and superficial skin ablation are wavelength 2940 nm, short pulse, laser output 2.5–5 J/cm2, and pulse duration 250 microseconds.
For relatively deep-seated scars, long pulse settings are preferable, at wavelength 2940 nm, laser output 3 J/cm2, and pulse duration 1000 microseconds.
Erbium YAG laser treatment may be unsuitable in the following circumstances:
All patients should be carefully examined before treatment.
Side effects from Er:YAG laser treatment are usually minor and may include:
For selected skin conditions, Er:YAG laser treatment offers:
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