Q-Switched Ruby Laser Treatment of Tattoos and Benign Pigmented Skin Lesions: A Critical Review

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The Q-switched ruby laser (694 nm, 25–40 nsec) is an effective and safe therapeutic device for the treatment of tattoos and well-defined, benign, pigmented epidermal and dermal lesions. Because of its selective mode of action, dermal pigments of natural and artificial origin are destroyed photothermically and removed without scar. This method is exceptionally suited for the elimination of lay and professional tattoos, traumatic tattoos, and permanent makeup. Other frequent indications include benign pigmented lesions such as lentigines, freckles, cafe-au-lait spots, seborrheic keratosis, and Becker nevi. As a dermal pigmented lesion, the nevus of Ota is perfectly treatable. However, chloasma can no longer be considered an indication for ruby laser treatment due to unsatisfactory results. Melanocytic nevi and congenital nevi should be treated only in clinical studies. The effectiveness of the long-term epilation of dark hair with this laser device has to be verified in future investigations. Particularly attractive is the nonproblematic and straightforward removal of pigmented lesions in precarious anatomic regions like the lips, eyelids, and genitals (e.g., benign melanosis of the lips or of the penis, seborrheic keratosis of the lid angle).

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