The increasing prevalence of laser use, particularly in plastic surgery, demands education of both practitioners and trainees to ensure efficacy and patient safety. The purpose of this continuing medical education module is to provide the learner with a detailed outline for laser training education for plastic surgery trainees. In this overview, a discussion of the characteristics of light, an introduction to fundamental laser principles, a comparison of lasers and pulsed light systems, and examples of several therapeutic applications for light-based devices in the clinical setting will be presented. Additionally, the 5 parameters necessary for operation of light-based devices, as well as the importance of laser safety education, will be reviewed. We hope this continuing medical education will provide both practicing plastic surgeons and trainees with the proper education on the lasers and pulsed light devices they will use in their clinical practices.
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