Pulsed CO2 laser is a treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma (sBCC) although robust clinical evidence has not been reported so far.OBJECTIVE
The authors investigated efficacy, safety, time to wound healing, cosmetic outcome, patient satisfaction, and cost-effectiveness ratio of pulsed CO2 laser in comparison to cryotherapy and surgery.MATERIALS AND METHODS
BCCs of the trunk and extremities were randomized to one of the treatments. After 90 days, efficacy and cosmetic outcome were assessed. Patients recorded the time to complete healing of the wound and scored their overall satisfaction.RESULTS
Two hundred forty patients were randomized. After 3 months, complete remission (CR) rate with pulsed CO2 laser was 78.8%. This was significantly lower than surgery, whereas the CR rate with cryotherapy was not significantly different. Cosmetic result was better with surgery. High satisfaction was reported by 65.0% of patients treated with CO2 ablation. Time of wound healing was significantly shorter with CO2 laser.CONCLUSION
In comparison to cryotherapy, pulsed CO2 laser showed no statistically significant difference in efficacy, cosmetic outcome, and patient satisfaction. Time to healing was shorter; the cost and cost-effectiveness ratio were similar. Surgery had the greatest efficacy rate. The main limitation of this study was the short duration of follow-up (3 months).