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The popularity of dermatologic laser surgery has skyrocketed in the past decade, as have the number of indications for its use and the types of lasers. As with all surgical modalities, excellent results are tempered by complications.

Any undesired effect of a laser intervention is considered a complication, regardless of its frequency. For example, purpura following short-pulsed, pulsed dye laser therapy of telangiectasia or erythema following carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is expected in 100% of patients treated; nevertheless, these problems are still noted as “complications“.

The difference between the fare skin and the dark skin in terms of the light or laser tissue interaction is an important determinant for the possible complications and good understanding of the potential problems and ways to avoid it is mandatory for any laser practitioner.

Potential complications of laser surgery can often be predicted if laser surgery principles are understood.