penn surgery
penn surgery home penn surgery clinical penn surgery education penn surgery research penn surgery administration
Plastic Surgery Home Page
Health Information
Division of
Plastic Surgery
Laser Surgery
Scott Bartlett
S. Bartlett
Joshua Fosnot
J. Fosnot
David Low
D. Low
Joseph Serletti
Dr. Serletti

Laser surgery involves the use of light energy to cut, coagulate, or vaporize tissue. Pulses of laser light can also fragment kidney stones and tattoo pigments.

Lasers are a concentrated form of light energy that can be used for medical, industrial, or research purposes.  There are many types of medical lasers, some of which produce visible light, while others produce light that cannot be seen by the human eye.

How does one choose the type of laser to use?
Different colors of laser light affect different types of tissues.  Lasers that produce yellow or green light will selectively destroy blood vessels because yellow and green light are absorbed by blood.  Lasers that target water will vaporize superficial skin layers as the water turns into steam, causing the skin cells to burst. Lasers that target melanin can be used to lighten benign pigmented spots and remove dark hair. A variety of lasers may be used to lighten tattoos, but the choice of laser will depend upon the color of the tattoo.

What kinds of conditions can be treated with lasers?
Abnormal blood vessels in the skin can be treated with lasers, including port wine stains, telangiectasias (spider veins and broken blood vessels), spider and cherry angiomas, and some vein malformations. Vaporizing lasers can soften wrinkles and acne scars by removing the superficial skin layers.  These same lasers can be used for some precancerous skin conditions.  Deeply penetrating lasers may be useful for hair removal, tattoo removal, and leg spider veins.

Types of congenital nevi include:

Inpatient Facilities:
Hospital University of Pennsylvania (HUP)
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
Office Visit Locations:
Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
Center for Human Appearance, Suite 1-150E (HUP)
34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard (CHOP)
Making an Office Visit Appointment:
1-800-789-PENN (HUP) or 215-590-2208 (CHOP)

footer Terms of Use Legal Disclaimer Site Map Contact Us Financial Assistance About Penn Medicine Privacy Statement

penn medicine