Background and objective: Benign melanosis of the lip represents a cosmetic problem for many of those who are afflicted. It responds well to therapy with Q-switched lasers. The value of previous studies has been limited by small numbers of cases or short follow-up times.
Patients/methods: In a retrospective study 9 patients were treated by the Q-switched ruby laser (694 nm, pulse duration 25-40 ns, spot size 4 mm, energy density 10 J/cm2) in the period from 5/94 to 10/99. The benignity of the lip melanosis was determined dermatoscopically. In one case, the diagnosis was also confirmed histologically by a punch biopsy. The follow-up time was between 6 months and 5 1/2 years.
Results: In 3 cases a complete clearance of the melanosis was achieved after one session, while in 6 patients a second treatment was required. There were no recurrences. Scars or pigment alterations were likewise not observed.
Conclusions: The treatment of benign melanosis of the lip with the Q-switched ruby laser is an elegant and safe method with excellent cosmetic results.