Ablative and Fractional Ablative Lasers

Lori A. Brightman, Jeremy A. Brauer, Robert Anolik, Elliot Weiss, Julie Karen, Anne Chapas, Elizabeth Hale, Leonard Bernstein, Roy G. Geronemus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The field of nonsurgical laser resurfacing for aesthetic enhancement continues to improve with new research and technological advances. Since its beginnings in the 1980s, the laser-resurfacing industry has produced a multitude of devices employing ablative, nonablative, and fractional ablative technologies. The three approaches largely differ in their method of thermal damage, weighing degrees of efficacy, downtime, and side effect profiles against each other. Nonablative technologies generate some interest, although only for those patient populations seeking mild improvements. Fractional technologies, however, have gained dramatic ground on fully ablative resurfacing. Fractional laser resurfacing, while exhibiting results that fall just short of the ideal outcomes of fully ablative treatments, is an increasingly attractive alternative because of its far more favorable side effect profile, reduced recovery time, and significant clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-489
Number of pages11
JournalDermatologic Clinics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Ablative laser
  • Fractional ablative laser
  • Laser rejuvenation
  • Nonablative
  • Resurfacing


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