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June 1988

The Treatment of Port-wine Stains by the Pulsed Dye Laser: Analysis of Pulse Duration and Long-term Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology, Northwestern University Medical School and the Veterans Administration Lakeside Medical Center, Chicago (Dr Garden), Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr Polla), and Boston University School of Medicine (Dr Tan).

Arch Dermatol. 1988;124(6):889-896. doi:10.1001/archderm.1988.01670060035012

• A flashlamp-pumped pulsed dye laser at 577 nm was evaluated in the treatment of port-wine stains. The degree of lesional lightening was compared following laser exposure with pulse durations of 20 and 360 μs. In addition, lesional therapy using the 360-μs pulse duration was evaluated for lightening and side effects following long-term patient observation and after repeated treatments of the same site. A total of 52 patients with port-wine stain were treated; their average age was 29 years, with eight patients less than 18 years, of whom 29 had comparative test site placement for the different pulse durations. Of these 29 patients, 25 demonstrated greater lightening at the 360-μs pulse duration test site. All 52 patients proceeded to receive full treatment placement with the 360-μs pulse duration, which resulted in an overall lightening of 42% after the initial treatment and 68% after re-treatment sessions. Forty-four percent of the patients had equal to or greater than 75% lesional lightening. Pretreatment anesthesia was unnecessary and only minimum posttreatment care was required. Mild adverse effects of epidermal change, depression, or pigmentary change appeared in only four cases and was limited to less than a 2% area in each of these lesions. These side effects did not recur when the lesions were re-treated at lower energy dosages. No posttreatment sclerosis or scarring appeared, even after multiple retreatment sessions to the same area, regardless of the anatomic location, color of the lesion, or age of the patient. The ability of the pulsed dye laser to increase blood vessel thermal damage selectivity has resulted in pulse duration—dependent changes that allow for favorable lesional lightening while significantly minimizing undesired side effects.

(Arch Dermatol 1988;124:889-896)

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