Complications of lasers and light treatments

Murad Alam*, Melanie Warycha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Cutaneous lasers and lights, and also more novel cutaneous energy modalities like radiofrequency and ultrasound, are in general very safe interventions with an associated rapid healing time. Posttreatment sequelae are usually mild and spontaneously resolving, with erythema and edema lasting hours to days. More troublesome, less common short-term adverse events include urticaria, erosions, crusting, ecchymoses, blistering, and infection. Medium-term adverse events include hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, a line of demarcation, burns, textural imperfections, and delayed reepithelialization. Long-term to permanent adverse events, which are fortunately rare, include indentation, scar, and ocular damage. With few exceptions, there are management strategies for avoiding laser adverse events, and, if they do occur, for mitigating their impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-580
Number of pages10
JournalDermatologic Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • edema
  • erythema
  • hyperpigmentation
  • hypopigmentation
  • scar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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