Leon Goldman, MD

1905 – 1997

Leon Goldman, the “father of laser surgery,” began experimenting with lasers in his research laboratory shortly after they were invented in 1960 and performed the first laser surgery in 1966. He was the founding president of American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) and also served as president of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) which named its Leon Goldman Medal in his honor.

Dr. Goldman spent much of his career at the University of Cincinnati where he taught and practiced. He began there in 1929, shortly after completing his dermatology residency and remained there until 1980, when he became head of the Laser Treatment Center of the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati. After a decade, he moved to California where he was a consultant at the San Diego Naval Medical Center. He died in San Diego of heart failure on December 2, 1997, at the age of ninety-one.

Professor Goldman published over one hundred scientific articles and was the author of six books. While remembered for his early adoption of laser, he was also an accomplished diagnostician and served as chair of a department for over 35 years. He was both enthusiastic and pragmatic about the use of lasers in medicine and dermatology. Goldman was known for his quote “If you don’ need the laser, don’t use it” which was posted on his laboratory wall. He also said that “lasers have unlimited potential”. His words and vision are as correct today as there were then.