Pulsed Dye Laser and Pulsed Dye Laser–Mediated Photodynamic Therapy in the Treatment of Dermatologic Disorders

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Abstract

Background

The pulsed dye laser (PDL) is used for treating cutaneous vascular disorders. Recent reports have also shown its effectiveness in conditions of other etiologies, although the precise mechanisms of action are unknown. PDL has also been used in photodynamic therapy (PDT) for many dermatologic conditions. We review the broad array of disorders that can be effectively managed using the PDL.

Objectives and Methods

A review of the literature on the application of the PDL and PDL-mediated PDT in dermatologic disorders. A literature-based search was performed using PubMed from 1997 to 2010. Search terms included: “pulsed dye laser,” “pulsed dye laser photodynamic therapy,” and “pulsed dye laser indications.”

Results

The PDL was initially designed for cutaneous vascular disorders. Recent investigations have demonstrated successful results when treating malignant, inflammatory, viral, and collagenous conditions. Side effects, including pain, purpura, edema, and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, were mild, well tolerated, and transient.

Conclusions

PDL is accepted as first-line therapy for vascular disorders including port-wine stains, telangiectasias, and hemangiomas. PDL causes selective photothermolysis of dermal vasculature. This mechanism also allows it to be applicable for disorders of other etiologies. Recent studies suggest that the PDL may induce cytokine expression and collagen formation, further increasing its applicability in dermatology.

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