Side Effects from the Pulsed Dye Laser: The Importance of Skin Pigmentation and Skin Redness

Haedersdal, Merete; Gniadecka, Monika; Efsen, Jan; Bech-Thomsen, Niels; Keiding, Jens; Christian Wulf, Hans
October 1998
Acta Dermato-Venereologica;10/28/98, Vol. 78 Issue 6, p445
Academic Journal
The pulsed dye laser is the treatment of choice for port-wine stains. In this study we evaluate the importance of preoperative skin pigmentation and skin redness for the development of side effects from one treatment with the pulsed dye laser. A risk assessment is performed and skin reflectance measurement objectifies postoperative pigmentary changes. Fourteen human volunteers (skin types I to V) were laser-treated on the inside of the proximal brachium. Photographic documentation was used for blinded, clinical evaluation of side effects 3 and 6 months postoperatively. Skin was artificially reddened using topical application of 10% nicotinic acid cream. The development of pigmentary alterations and texture changes depended on the preoperative pigmentation and redness degrees. The risk of inducing clinically visible pigmentary alterations and texture changes increased with higher preoperative skin pigmentation and redness degrees, and with the application of increasing laser doses. Pigmentary alterations were induced at a lower fluence level than texture changes. The risk of side effects was higher 3 months postoperatively than 6 months postoperatively, substantiating a gradual disappearance of side effects. Skin reflectance measurements documented postoperative hyperpigmentation that faded partially from 3 to 6 months postoperatively. This is the first human experimental model for port-wine stains which provides quantitative data on the relationship between preoperative skin colours and postoperative clinically disturbing side effects.


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