To compare the clinical and histological effects of 2 carbon dioxide lasers with different pulse durations and to evaluate the effect of carbon dioxide laser pulse duration on postprocedure erythema, wound healing, and efficacy of wrinkle treatment.
Prospective, randomized, comparative clinical trial.
A university-affiliated hospital-based laser center.
Thirty-five patients with facial wrinkles were enrolled in the study. Treatment sites included 15 perioral, 14 periorbital areas, and 6 full face.
A 2-sided comparison was performed. One side of the study site was treated with the TruPulse laser (Tissue Technologies, Palomar Medical Products Inc, Lexington, Mass). The other side of the study site was treated with the UltraPulse 5000 laser (Coherent Medical Inc, Palo Alto, Calif). The 2 sides were treated to equivalent tissue effects rather than maintaining the number of passes.
Main Outcome Measures
Photographs of the treatment areas at baseline, week 1, week 2, month 2, and month 6 were evaluated by a 5-member panel for degree of erythema, amount of edema, and percentage of wrinkle improvement. Silicon skin casts for profilometry measurements before and after the treatment were compared. To evaluate skin shrinkage, surface area before and after treatment of square tattoos on both cheeks of the full-face patients were computed using a digital imaging system. Histological sections before and after the procedure were analyzed.
At week 1, 75% of the patients had more erythema on the UltraPulse than TruPulse sides. The difference in erythema (TruPulse less than UltraPulse) between the 2 treatment sides was clinically mild yet statistically significant for weeks 1 (P=.05) and 2 (P=.05). Although observed results favored the UltraPulse over the TruPulse, the difference in efficacy between the 2 lasers did not reach statistical significance.
Compared with the longer pulse–duration carbon dioxide laser, the shorter pulse–duration carbon dioxide laser, used with higher energy and more passes, caused slightly less erythema while maintaining efficacy. The longer pulse–duration laser required lower energy and fewer number of passes to achieve an equivalent depth of ablation, level of residual thermal damage, and degree of efficacy. The shorter TruPulse allows for more superficial tissue damage per pass and therefore is best suited for situations requiring superficial or more controlled ablation. The longer UltraPulse achieves a desirable depth of tissue damage with fewer passes. The data did not support the long-term presence of tissue collagen shrinkage in the treated areas.