Treatment of Nevus of Ota in Black patients with the 1064 nm QS or picosecond laser and nonablative fractional photothermolysis

Shelby L. Kubicki, Emily L. Guo, Heather Richmond, Paul M. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Nevus of Ota is a benign melanocytic lesion that presents as a unilateral blue gray to brown facial patch favoring the distribution of the first two branches of the trigeminal nerve. Incidence is highest in Asian and Black populations, however, the overwhelming majority of studies are limited to diagnosis and treatment in Asian patients. We herein present 10 Black patients with Fitzpatrick skin types (FST) V and VI who underwent laser treatment for Nevus of Ota. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of Black patients presenting with Nevus of Ota. Race was self-designated by all patients and documented in the medical record at the time of initial consultation. Primary outcomes were based on improvement using before and after photographs which were graded by three independent board-certified dermatologists using a 5-point visual analog scale. Results: Ten FST V or VI patients with an age range of 9 months to 45 years were treated for Nevus of Ota. All patients were treated with the 1064 nm Q-switched neodymium doped yttrium aluminum garnet (QS Nd:YAG) and on average received 4.7 treatments at 2–10 month intervals. Fluence ranged from 1.8 to 2.3 J/cm2, and total pulse count ranged from 510.9 to 776.6. 2/10 patients were additionally treated with 1550 nm nonablative fractional resurfacing (NAFR), and 1/10 patients underwent combination therapy with both NAFR and 1064 nm picosecond laser therapy. Overall, patients saw a mean improvement of 51%–75% at follow-up 5–254 weeks (mean 51.5 weeks) after treatment. Three patients experienced mild guttate hypopigmentation in treated areas. No other long-term adverse events were encountered. Conclusion: 1064 nm QS Nd:YAG laser therapy is a safe and efficacious treatment for Nevus of Ota in patients with FST V and VI. When patient improvement plateaus, combining therapy with 1550 nm NAFR or transitioning to 1064 nm picosecond laser may be of benefit. Patients should be counseled on the risk of guttate hypopigmentation. This is the largest case series to date of Black patients with Nevus of Ota, highlighting the need for further investigation to determine optimal device settings and treatment parameters for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Nevus of Ota
  • birthmark
  • cosmetics
  • dermal melanocytosis
  • laser
  • Skin Neoplasms/surgery
  • Hypopigmentation/therapy
  • Humans
  • Nevus of Ota/surgery
  • Child, Preschool
  • Infant
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult
  • Adolescent
  • Lasers, Solid-State/therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Child

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Surgery


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