Comparison of erbium:YAG and carbon dioxide lasers in resurfacing of facial rhytides.

TitleComparison of erbium:YAG and carbon dioxide lasers in resurfacing of facial rhytides.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsKhatri KA, Ross V, Grevelink JM, Magro CM, Anderson RR
JournalArch Dermatol
Date Published1999 Apr
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Carbon Dioxide, Erbium, Female, Humans, Laser Therapy, Male, Middle Aged, Postoperative Complications, Rhytidoplasty, Skin Aging

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy, adverse effects, and histological findings of erbium:YAG (Er:YAG) and carbon dioxide (CO2) laser treatment in removing facial rhytides.

DESIGN: An intervention study of 21 subjects with facial rhytides. All participants were followed up for 6 months. The end points of the study were wrinkle improvement and duration of adverse effects.

SETTING: Academic referral center.

SUBJECTS: Nineteen female and 2 male volunteers with skin type I to III and wrinkle class I to III participated in the study.

INTERVENTION: In all subjects, 1 side of the face was treated with a CO2 laser and other side with an Er:YAG laser. Skin biopsies were performed in 6 subjects before treatment and immediately, 1 day, 2 days, and 6 months after treatment. Observations were recorded by subjects, investigators, and a blinded panel of experts.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Improvement in wrinkles and severity and duration of adverse effects.

RESULTS: The CO2 laser-treated side had relatively better wrinkle improvement when evaluating all subjects (P<.03). However, in subjects receiving more than 5 passes of Er:YAG laser, improvement scores were not significantly different from those for 2 to 3 passes of CO2 laser treatment. Posttreatment erythema was noted at 2 weeks in 14 subjects (67%) on the Er:YAG laser-treated side and 20 subjects (95%) on the CO2 laser-treated side. The frequency of erythema was significantly less after Er:YAG laser treatment at 2 (P=.001) and 8 (P=.03) weeks. Hypopigmentation was seen in 1 Er:YAG-treated (5%) and 9 CO2-treated (43%) sides (chi2, P<.05). Histological evaluation showed residual thermal damage of up to 50 microm on the Er:YAG-treated side and up to 200 microm on the CO2-treated side.

CONCLUSIONS: Erbium:YAG laser is safe and effective in removing facial rhytides. Subjects treated with Er:YAG laser recover more quickly from the procedure than those receiving CO2 laser treatment.

Alternate JournalArch Dermatol
PubMed ID10206045
Related Faculty: 
Cynthia M. Magro, M.D.

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