Carbon Dioxide Laser Resurfacing May Be Safe, Effective for Facial Rhytids

Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is a safe and effective treatment for facial rhytidosis and solar aging, according to the results of a retrospective case series reported in the July/August issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery. "The primary purpose of this study was to assess the long-term results after full-face carbon dioxide laser resurfacing," write P. Daniel Ward, MD, MS, and Shan R. Baker, MD, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues. "Long-term efficacy and complications were examined, with particular attention directed at determining the incidence of hypopigmentation that was evident on photographic review by an independent observer. The population of patients who developed hypopigmentation was further analyzed to determine whether there are any other factors that are associated with hypopigmentation."

In this retrospective case series, 47 patients were treated with facial carbon dioxide laser resurfacing.

At long-term follow-up, the mean improvement in facial rhytid score was 45%, with consistent improvement in all 5 anatomical facial subsites. There was 1 case of hyperpigmentation, which resolved within 2 years of treatment. Otherwise, hypopigmentation was the only long-term adverse effect, occurring in 6 patients (13%). Compared with patients who did not develop hypopigmentation, those who did had a higher likelihood of treatment response.

Other complications included milia, acne, infection, and ectropion, all of which resolved in all patients by 1 year after the procedure.

"Our results verify those of previous studies that found that carbon dioxide laser resurfacing leads to long-term improvement in facial rhytidosis," the study authors write. "This degree of improvement in facial rhytid score was consistent in all 5 anatomical subsites.... Although increased age and preoperative level of rhytidosis were not found to be associated with increased hypopigmentation in this study, they are likely to be associated with an increased risk of hypopigmentation."

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Arch Facial Plastic Surg. 2008;10(4):238–243.

Reviewed by Ramaz Mitaishvili, MD

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