Improving Health-Related Quality of Life in Wounded Warriors: The Promising Benefits of Laser Hair Removal to the Residual Limb–Prosthetic Interface

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Wounded warriors with lower limb amputations using prosthetics commonly develop dermatologic complaints at the residual limb–prosthetic interface, which impact their health-related quality of life (HRQOL). To optimize this interface, military dermatologists routinely treat the subset of issues related to the pilosebaceous unit with laser hair removal (LHR).

OBJECTIVE

To characterize the impact of residual limb skin conditions on HRQOL in wounded warriors using lower limb prosthetics before and after treatment with LHR.

METHODS AND MATERIALS

Twenty wounded warriors with lower limb amputations using prosthetics were administered a validated HRQOL survey, the Skindex-16, before and after an average of 3 treatments of LHR to their residual lower limbs. Responses were statistically analyzed within the symptoms, emotions, and functioning subscales of the survey and in aggregate.

RESULTS

Statistically significant (p < .05) improvement in HRQOL was observed across the symptoms, emotions, and functioning subscales and in aggregate.

CONCLUSION

Dermatologic complaints at the residual limb–prosthetic interface in patients with traumatic lower limb amputation are well-established in the literature. The authors present the first report subjectively quantifying this impact on HRQOL and the marked improvement observed with LHR to the residual limb.

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