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BACKGROUND Laser Dopplers can be useful in determining the relative amount of blood flowing through superficial skin. These instruments may be useful in assessing blood flow in healing wounds, flaps, and grafts.

OBJECTIVE To review the theory and types of laser Dopplers available.

METHODS This work includes a review of the literature.

RESULTS Laser Dopplers potentially have a broad range of applications in dermatologic surgery and dermatology. Because laser Dopplers can quantify blood flow, the course of wound healing over time can be studied; however, for predicting viability of skin flaps and grafts, laser Dopplers have not been able to supplant clinical assessment.

CONCLUSION Laser Dopplers provide an additional means of assessing superficial blood flow in the skin. This blood flow, which can be quantified, may be useful in studying wound and flap and graft healing.