Long-term Comparison of a Large Spot Vacuum Assisted Handpiece vs the Small Spot Size Traditional Handpiece of the 800 nm Diode Laser

September 2017 | Volume 16 | Issue 9 | Original Article | 893 | Copyright © September 2017

Nour J.Youssef MD,a Alain G.Rizk MD,a Omar A. Ibrahimi MD PhD,b,c and Zeina S.Tannous MDa,c

aDepartment of Dermatology, Lebanese American University Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon bConnecticut Skin Institute, Stamford, CT cWellman Center for Photomedicine, Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

BACKGROUND The 800 nm long-pulsed diode laser machine is safe and effective for permanent hair reduction. Traditionally, most long-pulsed diode lasers used for hair removal had a relatively small spot size. Recently, a long-pulsed diode laser with a large spot size and vacuum assisted suction handpiece was introduced. The treatment parameters of each type of handpiece differ. Short and long-term clinical efficacy, treatment associated pain, and patient satisfaction are important factors to be considered. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to conduct a direct head to head comparison of both handpieces of the 800nm long-pulsed diode laser by evaluating long term hair reduction, treatment associated pain and patient satisfaction. METHODS: Thirteen subjects were enrolled in this prospective, self-controlled, single-center study of axillary laser hair removal. The study involved 4 treatments using a long pulsed diode laser with a large spot size HS handpiece (single pass), HS handpiece (double pass), and a small spot size ET handpiece according to a randomized choice. The treatment sessions were done at 4-8 week intervals with follow up visits taken at 6 and 12 months after the last treatment session. Hair clearance and thickness analysis were assessed using macro hair count photographs taken at baseline visit, at each treatment session visit and at follow up visits. Other factors including pain, treatment duration, and patients’ preference were secondary study endpoints. RESULTS: At 6 months follow up visits after receiving four laser treatments, there was statistically significant hair clearance in the three treatment arms with 66.1 % mean percentage hair reduction with the ET handpiece, 43.6% with the HSS (single pass) and 64.1 % with the HSD (double). However, at one year follow up, the results significantly varied from the 6 months follow up. The mean percentage hair reduction was 57.8% with the ET handpiece treated axillas (n=9), 16.5% with the HSS (single pass) handpiece treated axillas (n=7), and 46.9% with the HSD (double pass) handpiece treated axillas (n=6). Thus, at one year follow up, there was a significant hair reduction that was similar in both the ET and HSD treated axillae (57.8% and 46.9 %), but only minimal hair reduction (16.5%)was observed in the HSS treated axillae. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study that compared the long-term efficacy of the ET and HS handpieces after four treatment sessions with up to 12 months follow up after the last treatment session. It is also the first study that provided head to head comparison between HS (double pass), HS (single pass), and ET handpiece taking into consideration the end hair reduction result, the time consumed, the pain score experienced, and the overall patient satisfaction. HSD had better hair clearance and patient satisfaction when compared to ET and HSS. The long term follow up results showed that ET was superior to HSS (P less than .05), but was not superior to HSD (P greater than 0.05). However, HSD treated patients had lower pain scores with HSD than with ET. We conclude that ET handpiece is almost as efficacious as HSD handpiece, and the desired end results could be achieved with HDD with better patient satisfaction, less treatment duration and less pain.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2017;16(9):893-898.


Laser hair removal is the most frequently performed laser procedure worldwide.1 The extended theory of selective photothermolysis explains the mechanism of laser hair removal as the laser heats the hair shaft and results in thermal diffusion that destroys the follicular stem cells. Matching of a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration will result in an optimal effect on a targeted tissue with minimal effect on surrounding tissue.2 The Lightsheer Duet is an 800-nm long-pulsed diode laser system has been shown to be an effective hair-reducing device in multiple studies.3 This device has been approved for use in all skin types (Fitzpatrick skin phototypes I-IVV) by the Food and Drug Administration.4 This particular 800 nm device provides the choice of using two distinct handpieces: the smaller spot size sapphire-cooled tip ET