Laser hair removal in surgery

Lasers have been used since the mid-1990s for hair depilation to permanently reduce the number and thickness of hairs using a series of simple outpatient treatments. The first lasers had limitations as to which skin types could be safely treated, but newer systems can treat almost all patients. Laser hair removal is based on the principle of selective photothermolysis, using melanin as the target chromophore. Coarser, darker hair tends to absorb more energy and responds better than lighter fine hair. However, white and blonde hair do not respond to treatment as they lack melanin.

While laser hair removal is used extensively in cosmetic practice to remove unwanted hair in many areas it has also been used for the treatment of several medical conditions, including pilonidal sinus disease. To read more about its place in the effective healing of pilonidal abscess’s and sinuses, and reduction in the rate of recurrence as well as giving substantial symptomatic relief, please see my full article.

Lasers have been used in other inflammatory conditions such as hidradenitis suppurativa, a chronic, recurrent inflammation of the sweat glands that occurs most frequently in females in the genital and inframammary area; and less often in men, affecting the buttocks and perineal.

Other successful uses of laser treatment in the surgical patient include reducing the hair in peristomal skin, the scrotal skin prior to vaginoplasty in male-to-female gender reassignment, in inflammation around hair follicle (folliculitis) and ingrown hairs, as well on skin flaps in many sites.  

Laser hair removal is a simple and effective treatment and could be considered in general urological and andrological practice. It would be good to discuss these potential uses in this blog so please leave any comments below. 

Read the full article.

Comments (2) Add yours ↓
  1. Luigi Basso Ass. Professor

    Hi Ms. Liliana Marza,

    I have found your paper of great interest. While I strongly recommend minimally invasive surgery to treat Pilonidal Disease, pre- and postoperative care is of utmost importance. Pre-operatively, some papers stress the importance of depilation or epilation prior to surgery, such as: Armstrong JH, Garcia PJ. “Pilonidal Sinus Disease . The Conservative Approach”. Arch Surg 1994;129: 914-8. Most papers strongly support LASER epilation especially following surgery and discommend othe types of depilation or epilation: Petersen S, Wietelmann K, Evers T, Hüser N, Matevossian E, Doll D. “Long-Term Effects of Postoperative Razor Epilation in Pilonidal Sinus Disease”. Dis Colon Rectum 2009; 52:131-4. ALSO: Badawy EA, Kanawati MN. “Effect of hair removal by Nd YAG laser on recurrence of pilonidal sinus”. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2009; 23: 883-6. ALSO: Oram Y, Kahraman F, Karincaoglu Y, Koyuncu E. “Evaluation of 60 patients with pilonidal sinus treated with LASER epilation after surgery”. Dermatol Surg 2010; 36:88–91. Cooperation and communication between patient, surgeon and LASER nurse is in any case very important.
    Prof. Dr. Luigi Basso (University of Rome, Italy).

    February 14, 2019 Reply
  2. Mihai Pop dentist

    Nice work Liliana!
    Laser hair removal has a place in hairy skin graft reconstruction in intraoral cancer as shown by a number of papers (Guarav A and Archna N, 2014, Hairy Intraoral Flaps: an uncommon complication of surgical therapy in oral cancer, Saudi Journal of Oral Sciences, 1:2, 123-124; Kaune et al , 2013, Successful Nd:YAG Laser Therapy for Hair Removal in the Oral Cavity after Plastic Reconstruction Using Hairy Donor Sites, Dermatology 226:324-328). When the graft area contains hair follicles, it would be preferable (although time and other factors may not always permit it) to reduce or eradicate hair from the donor site using laser, prior to grafting to the recipient site.

    February 21, 2019 Reply

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