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Carbon Dioxide Laser Effective for Reducing Wrinkles

Hypopigmentation can result, however; the risk appears related to greater response to treatment

TUESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- The use of carbon dioxide laser resurfacing for treating facial wrinkles is safe and effective, though hypopigmentation can be a common consequence, according to research published in the July/August issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

P. Daniel Ward, M.D. and Shan R. Baker, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, reviewed data from 47 patients (including 42 women) who underwent facial carbon dioxide laser resurfacing. The subjects had a mean age of 52 years.

The investigators report that subjects had a 45 percent improvement in a facial rhytid score at long-term follow-up, which was a mean of 2.3 years. Complications included milia or acne (30 percent), hyperpigmentation (17 percent) and hypopigmentation (13 percent). Except for a single case of hyperpigmentation, the only long-term adverse effect was hypopigmentation, and patients who developed it were more likely to have a better response to treatment.

The complication rate has led to "an ongoing search for methods of treating facial aging and scarring with lower complication rates. This search has resulted in the development of multiple lasers and other techniques for facial skin rejuvenation, with shorter recovery periods and lower complication rates. However, the methods that involve shorter recovery periods (e.g., erbium and YSGG resurfacing lasers, non-ablative lasers, fractionated lasers and plasma resurfacing) may not yield results that equal those of carbon dioxide resurfacing," writes Paul J. Carniol, M.D., of Summit, N.J., in an accompanying commentary.

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