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Manual of Cutaneous Laser Techniques

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    Manual of Cutaneous Laser Techniques. By Tina S Alster. Pp 259: £80. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 1999. ISBN 0-7817-1960-7.

    I was very impressed with this small and concise textbook which benefits from having a single author. The publishers have produced a handy-sized manual, and the author has produced a well written didactic review of the application of all the current practical lasers available on the open market. With great efficiency their strengths and weaknesses are discussed in some detail. There is a definite impression that this author has used most of the equipment, or has at least been able to have an appraisal from other experts. The attention to practical detail is impressive not only in terms of technique but in preparation of the patient and the post-treatment regimen. There are specific protocols for laser use with check lists of practical advice which include materials for local anaesthesia and monitoring equipment for the patient while undergoing treatment. Examples of consent forms may appear repetitive, but underline the differences between the different types of lasers. A very useful “treatment log” encourages consistency of data collection.

    I felt that the preoperative and postoperative illustrations were economical and were presented in a concise and interesting manner. Many of the sections displayed evidence of less than perfect results that would improve with time. Therefore, realistic appraisal of techniques and equipment is possible with this form of presentation.

    Only in one area did I encounter a minor error; on page 155, there appeared to be a singular difficulty with terminology. The author has apparently been confused by the terms, blepharoplasty, blepharoptosis, and brow ptosis. They are not interchangeable. Otherwise, I found the clinical comments valid and the text is well referenced.

    It is a book that inspires confidence in the reader. Although not many people will have experience of all the laser systems, the detailed accounts of these inspires a certain level of trust should a practitioner consider expanding his range.

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