Treatment of superficial vascular lesions with the KTP 532-nm laser: experience with 647 patients.


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Abstract

Superficial vascular lesions are a common dermatological diagnosis but are often difficult to treat. Numerous lasers (especially the dye laser) and intense pulsed light sources have been used, but there have been very few reports on the effectiveness of the potassium-titanyl phosphate (KTP) laser. We have extensive experience of this modality at our institution, and the purpose of this survey is to report on the safety and efficacy of the KTP laser. Using an in-house database, we retrospectively collected data from patients who had undergone treatment with the KTP laser for superficial vascular lesions. Patients of Fitzpatrick skin type I-IV were included. Exclusion criteria were Fitzpatrick skin type V, patients with obvious suntan and those on potentially phototoxic medications or minocycline therapy. Diagnoses included discrete or matted telangiectasia, strawberry naevus, spider angioma, rosaceal erythema, rosaceal telangiectasia, telangiectatic naevus, angioma, combined rosaceal erythema/telangiectasia, port-wine stain, venous lake haemangioma and hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia. Patients underwent an initial test treatment and further treatment at 6-week intervals as required. Clinical photographs were taken pre- and post-treatment, and outcome was graded by patient and physician. Adverse effects were recorded including scarring, hypo- or hyperpigmentation, marked swelling, blistering, scabbing and bruising. Six hundred forty-seven patients with 13 diagnoses on 9 different body sites were recorded. Four hundred eighty-six were female, and the median age was 39.5 years. Of the lesions treated, 33.7 % (n = 218) were discrete telangiectases and 31.8 % (n = 206) were spider angiomas. A 92.7 % of lesions were on the face. Four hundred thirteen (77.6 %) patients who had outcomes recorded at 6 weeks were graded as "clearance" or "marked improvement". Only 38 (5.8 %) patients experienced adverse effects, all of which were minor; the main adverse effect was swelling. Unlike the dye laser, there was only one case of bruising out of 647 patients. This is the largest survey of patients to have undergone KTP laser treatment reported in the literature. Our results show that the KTP laser is a safe and effective modality for the treatment of superficial vascular lesions.

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