The pulsed dye laser for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma

Christopher J. Ballard, Maria P. Rivas, Michael Patrick McLeod, Sonal Choudhary, George W. Elgart, Keyvan Nouri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Basal cell carcinomas (BCC) have a specialized microvasculature system that can be targeted by the 585-nm pulsed dye laser (PDL) utilizing the theory of selective photothermolysis. Seven volunteers with nine well-defined, biopsy-proven BCCs, were treated with the PDL (585-nm wavelength, a single 450-μs pulse, 7-mm spot size, and 9.0 J/cm 2 energy). The lesions, along with a 4-mm border of normal skin were treated. Pain assessment was carried out immediately after the laser treatment. A deep shave biopsy with histological examination occurred 4 weeks after the laser treatment. Pain was assessed on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain possible). The average patient score was 2.1 (range 1-4). On histology, 5/9 (55.6%) sites demonstrated no evidence of BCC; however, 4/9 (44.4%) sites showed residual BCC. Although the PDL was able to clear over half of the BCCs in this study, there was an unacceptably high persistence rate of 44.4%. The PDL did not achieve the clearance rate that can be attained with current standard BCC treatment modalities. At this time, we do not recommend that a single treatment with the 585-nm PDL can be used as a primary therapy for BCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-644
Number of pages4
JournalLasers in medical science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • 585-nm pulse dye laser
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Pulse dye laser
  • Superficial basal cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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