The Safety and Efficacy of Fractional Photothermolysis for the Correction of Striae Distensae

September 2008 | Volume 7 | Issue 9 | Original Article | 857 | Copyright © September 2008

Mira Stotland MD, Anne M. Chapas MD, Lori Brightman MD, Sean Sukal MD, Elizabeth Hale MD, Julie Karen MD, Leonard Bernstein MD, Roy G. Geronemus MD

Background: Improving the appearance of striae distensae, particularly striae alba, has remained a challenge due to the limited availability of effective and low-risk treatment options. Fractional photothermolysis, a novel concept in skin rejuvenation, has been reported to be effective in the treatment of facial rhytides, acne scars, and surgical scars, but its use in the treatment of striae has not been well studied.
Objective: To determine the safety and efficacy of fractional photothermolysis treatment on striae alba and striae rubra.
Methods: Twenty female patients with striae rubra or striae alba on their abdomen, thighs, or buttocks were enrolled in the study. Lesions were randomized to receive treatment, with site-matched normal control areas. Patients received a total of 6 treatments using a 1550-nm, erbium-doped fiber laser with 2 to 3 weeks of elapsed time between treatments. Clinical response to treatment was assessed at each visit, and at 1-month, 2-month, and 3-month follow-up intervals by the patient and investigator. A comparison evaluation of 8 patients examining photographs of striae at baseline and at the 3-month follow-up evaluation which was assessed by 4 independent dermatologists using the quartile grading scale.
Results: The independent evaluators’ assessments of improvement from photographs of 8 randomly selected patients showed an overall improvement of 26% to 50% in 63% (5/8) of patients. A less than 25% improvement in dyschromia was noted in 50% (4/8) of patients. An improvement in texture of 26% to 50% was observed in 50% (4/8) of patients. The clinical responses were indepen- dent of age, gender, and skin phototype. The treatments were tolerated well by all patients with a majority of patients experiencing transient posttreatment erythema and edema.
Conclusion: Fractional photothermolysis can be effectively and safely used in the treatment of striae rubra and striae alba.