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Editorial Review
July 2000

Laser Treatment of Pigmented Lesions-2000: How Far Have We Gone?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, A. Sygros Hospital for Skin and Venereal Diseases, National University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece (Dr Stratigos); and Skin Care Physicians of Chestnut Hill, Department of Dermatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (Drs Dover and Arndt).

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(7):915-921. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.7.915

One of the most interesting areas of cutaneous laser surgery has been the treatment of cutaneous pigmentation. The development of short-pulsed, pigment-specific lasers during the past 2 decades has enabled physicians to treat a variety of pigmented lesions of the skin with a high degree of tissue selectivity and a low risk of postoperative complications. Despite this, very few studies1,2 have actually compared the effectiveness of lasers in removing pigmented abnormalities with other, more traditional modalities, such as cryotherapy, electrocautery, chemical peels, or surgical excision. In this issue of the ARCHIVES, Todd et al3 report a randomized controlled study comparing the treatment response of solar lentigines with 3 different types of lasers and liquid nitrogen cryotherapy. The results demonstrate the superiority of laser therapy, particularly with short-pulsed lasers, in producing significant clinical improvement with a low incidence of adverse effects and high patient acceptance.