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For many years there has been a craze for lasers. They are given extraordinary therapeutic qualities. These are indeed amazing, although one must always remain cautious in terms of expected therapeutic results. Doctors want to use these lasers for therapeutic purposes and this is of interest to the general public. That these rays can cross the skin without damaging it to concentrate their effects on a specific target, that is exciting.

Lasers are used in different specialties and they have allowed to significantly modify some treatments and even to remove certain surgical procedures. It is undoubtedly in Dermatology (and in Ophthalmology) that the variety of indications is the greatest. The first devices used in Dermatology, however, had modest functions quite close to electrosurgery. But since then, what progress!

Today, most dermatologists who begin in this specialty must know the indications of these lasers and the practical data of use, for their handling or simply to advise the best the patients in order to reassure them and to direct them towards a laser structure competent. The multiplication of indications is also a problem because the studies are sometimes “light in terms of methodology” but, let’s say it, it is often difficult to set up a good methodology, if only because of the difficulty to achieve a double blind with some lasers.

At the same time the information that our patients can collect directly has evolved considerably. In the age of the internet, these patients often have the impression of knowing everything through the reading of different sites and sometimes feel almost able to determine the treatments themselves: they question their dermatologists just to confirm their feelings and their “diagnosis”. Even if it seems astonishing we can not ignore it and this justifies that every dermatologist, user or not of lasers, must be able to answer the questions of the patients.

At the same time laser techniques evolve more and more towards other sources of energy (ultrasound, radiofrequency, microwaves …).

All this should encourage us to get involved, to specialize and to have a critical eye on new technology.


In pictures

Referent : Bertrand Devaux –

  • See French version
  • See French version
  • Lasers in dermatology by S. Dahan and T. Michaud
    French Society of Photodermatology
    Reviews by Gérard Toubel

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