Results of preliminary studies have suggested that precision tissue ablation with ultraviolet (UV) lasers has potential for clinical application in corneal surgery.1 In this issue of the Archives, Lane et al2 show that skin can also be cut by pulsed UV lasers. Potential applications in skin might include (1) manipulation of the barrier function by precise removal of portions of the stratum corneum; (2) controlled removal of epidermal lesions, especially if recognizable borders give the therapist indications of margins; (3) eschar removal in burn therapy; and (4) precision surgery.
Present therapeutic uses of lasers depend primarily on spatially confined cooking, boiling, or exploding of tissue.3 When tissue temperature exceeds 100 °C, vaporization occurs; absorption of further radiant energy may result in the generation of increasing quantities of steam without much more increase in temperature. The CO2 laser emits infrared radiation, which is strongly absorbed by water
Parrish JA. Ultraviolet-Laser Ablation. Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(5):599-600. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660050051012