Author(s): Cantatore JL, Kriegel DA
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Abstract Revolutionary advances in laser research and technology have led to expanded dermatologic laser applications. With the wide range of lasers now available, a large spectrum of skin conditions in the pediatric population can be successfully treated or, in some cases, completely eradicated. Laser treatment of the pediatric population poses a unique challenge for the clinician on a variety of levels. Physically, the composition of many vascular and pigmented lesions changes as children age making them more resistant to laser therapy. Thus, in many cases, treating lesions at an early age has resulted in clearing in fewer sessions and with decreased complications. Mechanically, lasers and laser settings used for the treatment of adult lesions may have to be adjusted for the smaller vessels and the unpredictable nature of scarring with children's skin. For vascular lesions, the pulsed dye laser is considered the laser of choice for its efficacy and low-risk profile, whereas the Q-switched, pigment-specific lasers are ideal for most childhood pigmented lesions, allowing for single pigment cell destruction. Other conditions such as acne and acne scars, psoriasis, keloids, warts and hypertrichosis that traditionally have been treated with a variety of modalities are now being managed safely with laser surgery. Other issues specific to the pediatric population include the determination of suitable anesthesia, the provision of size-appropriate safety equipment, and the assessment and management of patient and parent anxiety. The use of lasers specifically designed for structural differences in pediatric lesions and the recognition of emotional issues surrounding a young patient during laser surgery are critical components of successful treatment. LEARNING OBJECTIVE: At the conclusion of this learning activity, participants should be familiar with the mechanism of laser technology, current trends in the use of lasers for skin lesions in the pediatric population, and the issues specific to treating a patient with laser surgery.
This article was published in J Am Acad Dermatol
and referenced in Cosmetology & Oro Facial Surgery