Lasers and laser-like devices: Part one

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Lasers have been used in dermatology for nearly 50 years. Through their selective targeting of skin chromophores they have become the preferred treatment for many skin conditions, including vascular malformations, photorejuvenation and acne scars. The technology and design of lasers continue to evolve, allowing greater control of laser parameters and resulting in increased safety and efficacy for patients. Innovations have allowed the range of conditions and the skin types amenable to treatment, in both general and cosmetic dermatology, to expand over the last decade. Integrated skin cooling and laser beam fractionation, for example, have improved safety, patient tolerance and decreased downtime. Furthermore, the availability and affordability of quality devices continues to increase, allowing clinicians not only to access laser therapies more readily but also to develop their personal experience in this field. As a result, most Australian dermatologists now have access to laser therapies, either in their own practice or within referable proximity, and practical knowledge of these technologies is increasingly required and expected by patients. Non-laser energy devices utilising intense pulsed light, plasma, radiofrequency, ultrasound and cryolipolysis contribute to the modern laser practitioners' armamentarium and will also be discussed.

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