Over the past decade there has been a huge increase in interest in the use of lasers in dermatology. The number and choice of lasers have increased dramatically. This has expanded the number of conditions treatable by lasers and also the number of clinicians now wishing to include dermatological lasers in their therapeutic armamentarium. Marketing forces and commercial pressures have led to a situation where lasers are purchased and used without a broad-based understanding of this important and developing field. The aim of this textbook is to provide a comprehensive guide to the theoretical and practical aspects of lasers used in the fields of dermatology and plastic surgery. I would hope this book would allow the trainee, consultant dermato logist or plastic surgeon to gain a full understanding of all aspects of lasers in der matology, both from the basic science and safety aspects through to the most appropriate choice of laser for the treatment of most particular conditions. This, however, is not a "how to ... cook book"; guidance only on treatment is pro vided based on my own experience and published research. Full understanding of the "whys" and "whens" of treatment are the aim, coupled with an extensive review of current and "cutting edge" research. This textbook will be an ideal complement to practical hands-on laser training to provide the clinician with all that is necessary for safe and competent practice in this field. vii ·"~i·:r..; Acknowledgements .,~.