Erbium YAG laser treatment

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.

What is a laser?

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.

What is erbium YAG laser?

How does erbium YAG laser work?

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.

What is erbium YAG laser used for?

The following skin disorders can be treated with Er:YAG laser beams.

Commonly used erbium YAG laser settings

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.

Patient selection and contraindications


Erbium YAG laser treatment may be unsuitable in the following circumstances:


All patients should be carefully examined before treatment.

Are there any side effects from erbium YAG laser resurfacing?

Side effects from Er:YAG laser treatment are usually minor and may include:

Mild side effects

Moderate side effects

Severe side effects

Benefits of erbium YAG laser treatment

For selected skin conditions, Er:YAG laser treatment offers:

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