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Lasers Surg Med. 2006 Feb;38(2):142-9.

Skin responses to fractional photothermolysis.

Author information

1
Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, 02114, USA. h.laubach@partners.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:

Fractional photothermolysis (FP) is a new concept using arrays of microscopic thermal damage patterns to stimulate a therapeutic response. We analyzed epidermal and dermal response to FP with the aim of correlating histological and clinical response.

STUDY DESIGN/MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Twelve subjects received a single treatment with a prototype diode laser emitting at a wavelength of 1,500 nm, delivering 5 mJ per microscopic treatment zone (MTZ), and a density of 1,600 MTZs/cm(2) on the forearm. Biopsies were procured over a period of 3 months. The biopsies were analyzed by two blinded dermatopathologists using hematoxylin and eosin (Hematoxylin and Eosin Stain), Elastica von Gieson, nitro-blue-tetrazolium-chloride (NBTC) viability, and immunohistochemistry stains. Furthermore, the treatment sites were evaluated in vivo by confocal microscopy.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:

Twenty-four hours after fractional photothermolysis, the continuity of the epidermal basal cell layer is restored. Complete epidermal regeneration is obtained 7 days after the treatment. Microscopic epidermal necrotic debris (MENDs) are seen as early as 1 day after FP. MENDs contain melanin pigment, and are shed from the epidermis within 7 days. Evidence of increased collagen III production is shown with immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining 7 days after FP. IHC for heat shock protein 70 (HSP 70) shows the expression of HSP 1 day after FP, and IHC for alpha smooth muscle actin shows the presence of myofibroblasts 7 days after FP. These findings are concordant with the induction of a wound healing response by FP. There is no evidence of residual dermal fibrosis 3 months after treatment.

CONCLUSION:

A single treatment with fractional photothermolysis induces a wound healing response in the dermis. A mechanism for the precise removal of epidermal melanin is described, in which MENDs act as a melanin shuttle.

PMID:
16392146
DOI:
10.1002/lsm.20254
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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