Guidance on infection control and plume management with Laser and Energy-Based Devices taking into consideration COVID-19

Australas J Dermatol. 2021 Feb;62(1):37-40. doi: 10.1111/ajd.13425. Epub 2020 Aug 19.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the practice of medicine. Dermatologic laser and energy-based device (EBD) treatments carry a potential risk for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 both for the patient and the practitioner. These risks include close practitioner to patient proximity, the treatment of higher viral load areas such as the face, the potential for infective bioparticles being carried by generated plumes and aerosols, and the direct contact between device, practitioner and patient.

Objectives: SARS-CoV-2 is a highly infective respiratory pathogen transmitted by respiratory droplets, respiratory/mucosal secretions, medically generated aerosols and via its transfer from contaminated fomites. This requires a review of the appropriateness of infection control protocols in regard to dermatologic laser and energy-based device treatments.

Methods: A critical evaluation of patient skin preparation including skin asepsis, device disinfection, laser and electrosurgical plume management and PPE in regard to SARS-CoV-2 was performed.

Results: The adherence to a high standard of skin preparation and asepsis, device disinfection, laser and electrosurgical plume and aerosol management and appropriate PPE should help mitigate or reduce some of the inherent treatment risks. Head and neck treatments along with aerosol and laser plume generating treatments likely carry greater risk.

Conclusions: COVID-19 needs to be considered in the clinic set-up along with the planning, treatment and post-treatment care of patients utilising EBD procedures. Some of these treatment precautions are COVID-19 specific; however, most represent adherence to good infectious disease and established laser and EBD safety precautions.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; aerosols; lasers; particulate matter; safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / adverse effects
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / transmission
  • Health Personnel / standards
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / prevention & control
  • Laser Therapy / standards*
  • Personal Protective Equipment / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*


  • Aerosols