Fractional Carbon Dioxide Laser in Patients with Skin Phototypes III to VI and Facial Burn Sequelae: 1-Year Follow-Up

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Abstract

Background:

Fractional carbon dioxide laser treatment in postburn scars is safe and effective, but high rates of hypochromia (35 percent) have been described in patients with skin phototypes V and VI after 2 months. The authors evaluated the efficacy and safety of fractional carbon dioxide laser treatment of burn scars in skin phototypes III to VI after 1 year, focusing on the incidence of hypochromia.

Methods:

A case series of 20 patients had skin phototypes III to VI with facial burn sequelae. They underwent three sessions of fractional laser. Laser fluence was increased in patients with no hypochromia and reepithelialization time of less than 15 days. Scars were evaluated after 2 months and 1 year by a five-item scale: color, hydration, surface irregularities, volume, and distensibility.

Results:

The mean time for reepithelialization was 13.3 days (range, 2 to 40 days). The average final score of the scale increased from 4.4 before treatment to 7.33 after 1 year for physicians, and from 5.35 to 7.5 for patients. There was also an increase in the subjective score, which patients used to assess their skin. Two months after treatment, 60 percent of patients presented with punctate hypochromia. After 1 year, only 15 percent of patients still had mild hypochromia; all of them had skin phototypes V and VI. Nevertheless, they were satisfied with overall bleaching of the skin.

Conclusions:

Fractional carbon dioxide laser improved skin quality. Late punctate hypopigmentation should be considered a possible complication in patients with skin phototypes V and VI.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, IV.

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