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Lasers in Dermatology
Barry Auster, MD – Farmington Hills Center

Lasers have become an integral part of treatment in dermatology.

Their history in dermatology began in the mid-sixties when the first lasers were used on human skin. One of the pioneers was Dr. Leon Goldman, The chairman of dermatology at the University of Cincinnati.

The initial attempts were for the treatment of congenital hemangiomas also known as port-wine stains. This was an entity that had resisted various forms of therapy yet was very debilitations for the patients and distressful for their parents. The results were dramatic and a true breakthrough.

Since the early days, lasers have found use in a myriad of other skin problems. We can now treat unwanted hair, tattoos, warts and varicose veins. These were conditions that either had no previous effective therapy or were poorly responsive to various treatments.

Lasers can be divided into 2 basic types:

Ablative and non-ablative. In the former the beam is actually invisible. These types of lasers actually are able to remove layers of tissue in a very controlled fashion. They are used primarily as remodeling devices which can eliminate wrinkles and achieve skin tightening without incisions.

The non-ablative lasers are visible to the naked eye and come in various colors of the spectrum. These devices, much like a heat-seeking missile, are selectively absorbed by pigmented structures in the skin. In this way, physicians can remove red lesions such as blood vessels or brown lesions such as age spots.

There as some common miss-perceptions that patients have about lasers. The first is that the treatments are painless. This is untrue and treatments do require some type of anesthesia. In most cases this may be a topical cream. Secondly, that there is no side- effects. Although lasers have an excellent safety record, the skill of the operator is extremely important. If the laser is applied incorrectly then injuries such as burns may occur. Therefore it is important to know the level of experience of the user.

At Midwest Dermatology we have a wide range of lasers and recently have begun using a laser for the treatment of psoriasis. Our physicians are highly skilled in the use of the devices. Please do not hesitate to ask our staff for information on the various treatments that are available.

Midwest Center for Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery