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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1996 Oct;98(5):791-4.

Treatment of facial rhytides with a high-energy pulsed carbon dioxide laser.

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Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, Washington, D.C., USA.


Facial rhytides are a common problem that often presents for treatment. Because of the tendency for rhytides to involve delicate tissue areas, traditional treatment modalities have been limited by complications of scarring or pigmentary alterations. With the advent of the new-generation high-energy pulsed carbon dioxide lasers, skin requiring resurfacing can now be treated successfully with minimal risk and side effects. This study included 259 patients with facial rhytides (104 perioral, 83 periorbital, 53 glabellar, and 17 forehead). Each patient received treatment with a high-energy pulsed CO2 laser system, and individual responses were evaluated independently by two blinded assessors at 1, 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks postoperatively. While clinical response rates were uniformly excellent, they varied in different locations. On average, there was a 90 percent improvement in all areas under study. The periorbital regions responded best, an average 93 percent improvement being seen. The facial rhytides with the lowest response rates (86.8 percent) were those which were most severe and those caused by excessive muscle movement (i.e., frown lines at the glabella). No incidences of scarring were noted, but erythema persisting 1 to 3 months (mean 2.2 months) following laser irradiation was typical. Transient postinflammatory hyperpigmentation of 3 months' average duration was seen in 30 percent of patients and was not limited to those individuals with darker skin tones. The high-energy pulsed carbon dioxide laser is a safe and effective treatment for facial rhytides. Treatment can be delivered in an outpatient setting without the need for general anesthesia, and preliminary evidence suggests long-lasting results.

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