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Dermatol Surg. 1999 Feb;25(2):121-3.

Erbium:YAG laser resurfacing for refractory melasma.

Author information

1
Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, Washington, DC, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Melasma is a facial dyspigmentation which is a common complaint in patients with darker skin tones. Many current therapies used for this condition are ineffective and can cause significant adverse effects.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of erbium:YAG laser resurfacing in the management of refractory melasma.

METHODS:

Ten female patients with melasma unresponsive to previous therapy of bleaching creams and chemical peels were included in this study. Full face skin resurfacing using an erbium: YAG laser (2.94 microm) was performed using 5.1-7.6 J/cm2 energy. Clinical evaluations using the Melasma Area and Severity Index (MASI) and melanin reflectance spectrometry measurements were taken preoperatively and at 0.5, 1, 1.5, 3, and 6 weeks and 3, 5, and 6 months postoperatively. Adverse effects after laser resurfacing such as prolonged erythema, infection, and hyperpigmentation were recorded.

RESULTS:

There was marked improvement of the melasma immediately after laser surgery using the parameters outlined; however, between 3 and 6 weeks postoperatively, all patients exhibited post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Decreased MASI and melanin reflectance spectrometry measurement scores were noted after biweekly glycolic acid peels and at the end of 6 months, significant clinical improvement in the melasma was seen compared to the preoperative evaluation.

CONCLUSION:

Erbium:YAG laser resurfacing effectively improves melasma; however, the almost universal appearance of transient post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation necessitates prompt and persistent intervention. The use of this laser therapy is recommended only for refractory melasma.

PMID:
10037517
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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