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Why Laser Treatment for Children Isn’t the Same as Laser Treatment for Adults

Laser systems have become a popular medical technology in recent years. They’re used to erase away acne, rosacea, scars, moles, and discoloration. Although adults are typically calm when undergoing laser treatment; children, on the hand, can be squeamish and scared when being subjected to a powerful, pulsing beam. According to two San Diego-based dermatologists, E. Victor Ross, MD, at Scripps Clinic Carmel Valley and Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD, chief of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at Rady Children’s Hospital, dermatologists should practice special precautions when administering laser treatment to children.

“The key is for the physician to begin the procedure as soon as possible upon entering the room, so the child has less time to think about backing out of it,” Ross told ModernMedicine Network. “Therefore, staff should complete preparations for a procedure prior to a physician’s entrance.” In the instance that the procedure requires eye protection, Ross suggests that an assisting staff should be in the room to make sure that the child doesn’t remove their goggles.

Eichenfield recommends applying a topical numbing gel, oral analgesics, and in some cases, using a general anesthesia for youth. Children with hemangiomas, port-wine stains, hamartomas, pigmented lesions, and scars can receive lasting benefits from laser treatment. However, children whose conditions bare only slight cosmetic impact should reconsider getting laser until they’re older. Ross emphasizes that a child’s condition might improve as they mature, and parents should discuss these odds with the dermatologist before going through with the procedure.

Overall, Eichenfield and Ross encourage children to seek out laser treatments for skin conditions. I have seen tremendous psychological effects from birthmarks that haven’t been treated,” said Eichenfield. “As well as tremendous satisfaction from intervention with laser technology — which is generally safe and effective.”

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