The use of the carbon dioxide laser for skin resurfacing was initially described in 1989. Since that time, several reports have shown it to be highly effective in the treatment of photodamaged skin and acne scarring. Advances in laser technology have simplified the procedure and minimized adverse sequelae. Laser skin resurfacing has become a very popular technique, and recently several patient series have been published on the use of different resurfacing lasers to treat photodamaged skin. However, very little has been written about its complications. Adequate patient selection, sound medical judgement, proper training with experience and knowledge of skin physiology and wound care are important factors for successful outcomes. Interested physicians across a broad range of subspecialties have expressed concern about the rate of adverse outcomes and management of complications. We report seven representative cases of complications referred to our dermatology clinics from outside physicians, in the hope of educating clinicians regarding the usual and unusual side effects of this procedure.
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