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Utilization of Laser Therapy During Pregnancy

A Systematic Review of the Maternal and Fetal Effects Reported From 1960 to 2017

Wilkerson, Eric C., MD*; Van Acker, Monica M., DO; Bloom, Bradley S., MD*; Goldberg, David J., MD, JD*,‡,§

doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000001912
Review Article

BACKGROUND Due to concerns regarding maternal and fetal safety and the absence of evidence to the contrary, laser treatment during pregnancy has traditionally been limited to situations of absolute necessity.

OBJECTIVE This review seeks to examine the available evidence to determine the safety of laser therapy during pregnancy.

METHODS Medical databases were searched for relevant reports from all specialties regarding the use of lasers during pregnancy from 1960 to 2017. A legal case review was also performed.

RESULTS Twenty-two publications in the literature reported the use of various laser wavelengths in 380 pregnant women during all trimesters. Other than 1 case of premature rupture of membranes questionably related to the laser treatment, there were no cases of maternal or fetal morbidity or mortality, premature labor, or identifiable fetal stress.

CONCLUSION The available evidence, limited to low evidence level case reports and series, indicates cutaneous laser treatment during pregnancy is safe for both mother and fetus. Furthermore, laser physics and optics dictate there should theoretically be no risk of fetal laser exposure from commonly used cutaneous lasers.

*Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of NY and NJ, New York, New York;

Department of Dermatology, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan;

Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York;

§Fordham School of Law, New York, New York

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: David J. Goldberg, MD, JD, Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of NY and NJ, 20 Prospect Avenue, Suite 702, Hackensack, NJ 07601, or e-mail:

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

© 2019 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
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