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Laser Resurfacing

Today I had the pleasure of giving a lecture to the wonderful group of USC dermatology residents, as I am an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology and volunteer faculty member at Keck USC School of Medicine. Preparing for this lecture made me realize what a gift I was given for being a resident at the right place at the right time. The advent of laser resurfacing began while I was a resident at NYU, where I had an opportunity to learn from my attendings, Drs. Roy Geronemus, Arielle Kauvar, Robin Ashinoff and Vicki Levine. It was an exciting time in lasers, and I had a great opportunity during my fellowship to perform full-face resurfacing on a regular basis with Drs. Hugh Greenway and Vic Ross.

I have seen lasers come and go, and continue to. Patients are always asking me about the latest devices, fillers, etc. While some doctors always brag about being on the cutting edge, my philosophy is to be a late adopter. I am a complete skeptic and need good evidence to justify offering procedures to patients to ensure efficacy and safety. Ethically, I just can’t do otherwise.

No matter what you see published in women’s magazines, the newspaper, on Dr. Oz, etc, you need to realize that a lot of what is “hot” and talked about is a publicity machine for certain companies and doctors. It is not necessarily truthful or honest. It amazes me how gullible the general public can be about what they read in print or see on TV.

On a lighter note, we have a lovely derm resident from Lebanon visiting, Dr. Jihane Rahal, and we enjoy having her observe Mohs surgery and laser. After a day with me yesterday, she got her fill of fractionated carbon dioxide laser. Today I got a fill of the awesome Lebanese baklava she brought!

In my lecture to the residents, I showed pictures of both common and rare conditions the laser can be used for. I had one great case where I made a big difference. A woman in her 30’s had avoided any relationships because Kaiser told her she had a stubborn case of genital warts. A colleague of mine had diagnosed her with another condition. It just didn’t look or sound right to me. Turns out after I biopsied her, she had a very rare condition called vulvar syringomas, which are benign growths of the vulva. After several treatments, her vulva looks normal again and hopefully this will brighten her outlook on life. I am working on publishing this case in the medical literature with one of my former employees who is now in medical school. I hope someone out there with this condition finds this post so someone can help them!

Many patients have acne scars which they are ashamed about. Luckily, these lasers have made a big difference in their lives.

Lasers are not a cure all for everything, but thank god for them! (Thank you also to R. Rox Anderson, MD, the laser genius in Boston for inventing them)

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 29th, 2013 at 1:57 am and is filed under acne scar treatment, acne scars, fractionated laser, fraxel laser, laser. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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