We report on the use of pulsed ultraviolet-laser irradiation at 193 nm from an argon-fluoride laser and at 248 nm from a krypton-fluoride laser to ablate skin. In vitro, both wavelengths performed comparably, removing tissue precisely and cleanly, and leaving minimal thermal damage to the surrounding tissue. In vivo, the 193-nm laser radiation failed to remove tissue after bleeding began. The 248-nm radiation, however, continued to remove tissue despite bleeding and left a clean incision with only minimal thermal damage. The krypton-fluoride excimer laser beam at 248 nm, which should be deliverable through a quartz optical fiber, has great potential as a surgical instrument. © 1985, American Medical Association. All rights reserved.