Retinoic Acid and CO2 Laser Resurfacing

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The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of retinoic acid on wound healing and depth of injury in an animal skin model resurfaced with a CO2 laser.

The dorsal skin of 21 Hartley guinea pigs was divided into halves. One-half received a daily application of 0.05% retinoic acid for 28 days, whereas the other half served as the control. The animals were divided into three treatment groups of seven animals. Group A was laser resurfaced with one pass of the Coherent UltraPulse CO2 laser (300 mJ, 60 W, density 40 percent). Group B received two passes, and group C received three passes. Histologic studies were obtained before laser resurfacing and days 1, 4, and 7 after resurfacing. Depth of injury, thickness, number of squamous cell and granular cell layers, and epithelialization rates were measured.

We found that the depth of injury was statistically less in animals pretreated with retinoic acid. Granular cells were thicker and more numerous at day 4 in pretreated animals but similar to controls by day 7. Animals pretreated with retinoic acid overall seemed to heal wounds earlier.

In conclusion, pretreatment with retinoic acid may reduce the depth of injury in laser resurfacing and speed healing rates. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 104: 2229, 1999.)

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