Er:YAG laser treatment

Author: Anoma Ranaweera B.V.Sc; PhD (Clinical Biochemistry, University of Liverpool, UK). Copy Editor: Clare Morrison. Chief Editor: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand. March 2014.

What is a laser?

The acronym LASER stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. A laser works by emitting a wavelength of high energy light, which when focused on a certain skin condition creates heat and destroys diseased cells. Wavelength is measured in nanometres (nm).

Various kinds of lasers are available; they are differentiated by the medium that produces the laser beam. Each of the different types of lasers has a specific range of utility, depending on its wavelength and penetration.

What is Er:YAG laser?

How does Er:YAG laser work?

Lasers work by emitting a wavelength of high energy light, which when focused on a certain skin condition will create heat and destroy diseased cells.

What is Er:YAG laser used for?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a range of Er:YAG laser machines for various skin disorders. These include Superbium® Er:YAG laser (Bios, Italy), Apex™ Er:YAG solid state laser and Tri-Lase™ solid state Er:YAG laser (Sandstone Technologies, NY, USA), AVVIO Er:YAG laser (Won Technology, Korea), Action™ / Action II™ Er:YAG laser (Lutronic®, North America, CA, USA), Lotus II® Fractional Long and Short Pulsed Er:YAG Laser (Laseroptek, Korea), and Fotona® Er:YAG laser (Ljubljana, Slovenia). Individual machines are designed to treat specific skin problems.

The following skin disorders can be treated with Er:YAG laser beams.

Commonly used Er:YAG laser settings

Typical settings employed for birthmarks, age spots and superficial skin ablation are wavelength 2940 nm, short pulse, laser output 2.5–5 J/cm2, and pulse duration 250 microseconds.

For relatively deep-seated scars, long pulse settings are preferable, at wavelength 2940 nm, laser output 3 J/cm2, and pulse duration 1000 microseconds.

Patient selection and contraindications


Er:YAG laser treatment may be unsuitable in the following circumstances:


All patients should be carefully examined before treatment.

Are there any side effects from Er:YAG laser resurfacing?

Side effects from Er:YAG laser treatment are usually minor and may include:

Mild side effects

Moderate side effects

Severe side effects

Benefits of Er:YAG laser treatment

For selected skin conditions, Er:YAG laser treatment offers:

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