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July 1995

Therapeutic Dermabrasion

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

5601 J St Sacramento, CA 95819

Arch Dermatol. 1995;131(7):850. doi:10.1001/archderm.1995.01690190106024

The editorial ''Therapeutic Dermabrasion'' by Frank,1 although enlightening from a historic perspective, oversimplifies certain facts regarding therapeutic dermabrasion.

There is no doubt that dermabrasion, when used by clinicians well trained in this technique-sensitive procedure, can be beneficial in a select group of clinical conditions. Acne scarring, aging changes, and diffuse actinic damage are often improved by the skillful use of this procedure.

Unfortunately, since dermabrasion can be performed by anyone with minimal training and a small monetary investment, it has been misused and is a surgical procedure often targeted by plaintiff malpractice attorneys. One must also not ignore the significant risk to physicians and assistants of exposure to blood-borne pathogens during this procedure. Frank compares dermabrasion to carbon dioxide laser ablation procedures, stating that char resulting from laser thermal damage obscures anatomic depth. He ignores current clinical evidence showing that the suprapulse and ultrapulse carbon dioxide lasers are capable