Treatment of nevus of Ota by Q-switched ruby laser

Charles R. Taylor, Thomas J. Flotte, R. William Gange, R. Rox Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Background: There are few reports on therapy for nevus of Ota. Moreover, traditional treatments are largely palliative or risk permanent pigmentary changes and/or scarring. Objective: The efficacy of the Q-switched ruby laser (694 nm, 40 nsec) as a therapy for nevus of Ota was investigated. Methods: Nine nevi or portions thereof were irradiated up to six times with 4.5 and/or 7.5 J/cm2 at a mean exposure interval of 3 weeks. Sequential skin biopsy specimens were processed for light microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy. Results: Cosmetic improvement occurred at both doses in the irradiated parts of the six nevi available for follow-up. No appreciable difference was noted between single and multiple treatments. There was no gross scarring. Light microscopy revealed dose-related immediate injury with more melanophages and fewer dermal melanocytes after irradiation in comparison with control areas. Electron microscopic distinction between dermal melanocytes and melanin-laden macrophages was difficult. A monoclonal antibody to human melanosome-specific antigen type 1 (HMSA-1) was used to distinguish between the two cell populations. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the Q-switched ruby laser is useful for treating nevus of Ota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-751
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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