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Background

Connective tissue diseases (CTD), including lupus erythematosus (LE), scleroderma, sarcoidosis, and dermatomyositis, present with clinically unique cutaneous manifestations often resistant to conventional therapy. The use of lasers in the treatment of various dermatologic conditions continues to expand, presenting an opportunity for incorporation of another mechanism of action in the treatment of CTD.

Objectives

To review the use of laser therapy in the treatment of LE, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, and dermatomyositis.

Materials and Methods

A MEDLINE search was conducted to find articles detailing treatment of CTD with laser therapy.

Results

Thirty-nine published articles were identified. The outcomes and results of case reports were reviewed for each CTD when possible.

Conclusions

Laser therapy offers novel and often effective treatment for recalcitrant cutaneous conditions in LE, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, and dermatomyositis. Review of the literature revealed a limited number of reports, many describing outdated technologies and techniques. It is therefore difficult to draw substantial conclusions regarding safety and the known association with photosensitivity. More-recent reports suggest that, with continued evolution of technology and understanding of CTD, lasers will have an expanding role in the treatment of cutaneous manifestations of CTD.