The Erbium Micropeel: A Prospective, Randomized Trial of the Effects of Two Fluence Settings on Facial Photoaging

February 2011 | Volume 10 | Issue 2 | Original Article | 179 | Copyright © February 2011

Brian Somoano MD, Basil M. Hantash MD PhD, Edgar F. Fincher MD PhD, Peggy Wu MD, Hayes B. Gladstone MD

Background: Recent studies have suggested that a series of low-energy, single-pass ablative laser resurfacing micropeels can reduce photoaging with decreased downtime. This randomized, prospective single-blinded trial sought to determine the ideal settings of sequential erbium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Er:YAG) laser treatments that maximize efficacy and patient satisfaction.
Methods: Forty-six subjects with mild-to-moderate facial dyschromia and rhytides were evenly randomized to two Er:YAG treatment arms. Patients in the lower fluence (LF) (2.5 J/cm2) and higher fluence (HF) (3.8 J/cm2) groups each received three one-pass, full-face treatments one month apart. Patient and investigator assessments of rhytides, dyschromia and global appearance were performed at baseline and at four, eight and 20 weeks using a nominal scale from 1–4. Adverse events and patient satisfaction were also evaluated.
Results: Patient scores showed rhytid improvement only with HF treatments. Investigator scores at three months post-treatment showed dyschromia was significantly improved in both study arms, with a 24 and 36 percent reduction for the LF and HF groups, respectively. Global appearance scores improved by 25 and 32 percent, respectively. A trend towards greater post-procedure erythema and time-to-erythema resolution was observed in the HF group. Mild peeling was the most common adverse event. Individuals who underwent LF treatments were more likely to pursue future treatments.
Conclusion: Both settings resulted in moderate but significant improvement in dyschromia, although only HF treatment improved rhytides. The decreased downtime of LF treatments made this the preferred choice of patients.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(2):179-176.