Postoperative Care and Complications

Minimal postoperative care is needed as the epidermis remains intact. Mild burning, erythema, and edema can occur, and the application of aloe vera gel and/or ice packs is helpful. Bruising may occur when pulsed dye lasers are used at the shorter pulse widths; this can usually be covered with makeup.

Complications are unusual and much less likely than with ablative techniques where epidermal disruption leaves an entryway for bacteria and other contactants. Tanned skin will be more susceptible to injury due to the increased melanin absorption if wavelengths absorbed by melanin are used and the epidermis is insufficiently cooled. Use of too high an energy setting can lead to hyperpigmentation or burning and blistering. Hypopigmentation, and even scarring, has been reported (Gaston and Clark 1998; Hardaway 2002; Menaker 1999; Moreno-Arias 2002; Wlotzke 1996).

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