Treatment of actinic cheilitis with the Er:YAG laser

Paul Armenores, Craig James, Patrick Walker, Shyamala Huilgol

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Actinic cheilitis is a common condition with the potential to develop into squamous cell carcinoma. Current treatments have varying cure rates and complications. The role of the erbium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Er:YAG) laser in the treatment of actinic cheilitis has not been widely published, despite offering theoretical advantages over current treatment modalities. Objective: To evaluate the outcome of a series of patients treated with the Er:YAG laser for actinic cheilitis. Methods: This was a retrospective, interventional, nonrandomized, sequential case series set in a tertiary referral, dermatologic surgery unit. Ninety-nine consecutive patients with actinic cheilitis treated with the Er:YAG laser between January 2001 and June 2008 underwent a case note review, of which 77 went on to a structured telephone interview. The main outcome measures were a subjective improvement in lip symptoms related to actinic cheilitis and objective improvement in the lips at routine follow-up. Results: Mean time to interview follow-up was 65.7 months. Of those interviewed, 92.2% believed there had been an improvement in the cosmetic appearance of their lips; one hundred percent believed the function of their lips had improved or remained unchanged; and 84.8% remained completely disease free at the time of follow-up. The majority of patients (93.5%) were satisfied with the laser treatment. Scarring as a direct result of the laser occurred in 5.1% of patients. Limitations: Retrospective nature of data collection; inability to interview all patients who underwent treatment. Conclusion: The Er:YAG laser is a successful modality for the treatment of actinic cheilitis with good functional and cosmetic results and only a small risk of long-term scarring. It should be considered as a first-line treatment for the disease.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)642-646
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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