Author: Anoma Ranaweera, Medical Writer, Auckland, New Zealand; Chief Editor: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton New Zealand, January 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 Nd:YAG laser beams.
The laser light pulses target red pigment (haemoglobin). Typical settings employed for the treatment of facial veins include a 50 milliseconds pulse duration, and fluence (ie output energy) of 150¬250 J/cm2 (measured in Joules per centimetre squared).
Light pulses target melanin at variable depth on or in the skin.
The longer-pulse (millisecond) 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser system has been shown to be more effective in safely removing hair than has the Q-switched (nanosecond) Nd:YAG system.
Light pulses target the hair follicle, which causes the hair to fall out and minimises further growth. Typical settings employed include pulse durations of 2 to 20 milliseconds and fluences of 10¬40 J/cm2.
Typical settings are pulse duration: 10 nanoseconds, output energy: 300¬500Mj.
Side effects from Nd:YAG laser treatment are usually minor and may include:
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