Laser—Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation—produces high energy radiation. The first laser apparatus was developed from microwave technology in 1960 by the nobel prize winner TH Mamian. It was initially used as a destructive tool to ablate tumours, but now different wavelengths can be directed at specific targets. Blood vessels, for example, take up the blue/green light of the argon laser and the red light of a ruby laser is well absorbed by the green dye of tattoos. Modern developments have resulted in laser equipment that produces minimal scarring and maximum specificity.
Although smaller portable units are available, laser treatment should still only be undertaken by those with appropriate training. The skin lesions most commonly treated by laser are described below.
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