Combination laser smooths, tightens, study finds

February 1, 2006

The results showed a modest improvement in facial rhytids in the majority of patients, with the maximum improvement in the nasolabial and mesiolabial area seen at three to six months.

Tina Alster, M.D., and Seema Doshi, M.D, from the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, recently published the results of a study of 20 patients treated with the Syneron Polaris WR.

The Polaris uses a combination of radiofrequency and diode laser - and it may be the heat generated by the radiofrequency portion that resulted in decreased cheek laxity as well as modest improvement of wrinkles, according to Dr. Alster, director of the Institute and clinical professor at Georgetown University Medical Center.

"We treated 20 women with a mean age of 52 years with skin phototypes of I or II who presented with mild-to-moderate facial rhytids and skin laxity," Dr. Alster explains.

She outlines the study parameters.

"We were treating to produce immediate mild erythema and edema of the skin without signs of epidermal damage, such as blistering or desquamation of the skin," Dr. Alster tells Dermatology Times.

The results of the treatment were assessed immediately after the first treatment session, then at three and six-months after the final session.

Using the typical quartile grading scale, the patients were scored:
1. < 25 percent improvement
2. 25 to 50 percent improvement
3. 51 to 75 percent improvement
4. > 75 percent improvement

The results showed a modest improvement in facial rhytids in the majority of patients, with the maximum improvement in the nasolabial and mesiolabial area seen at three to six months.

The maximum score in the nasolabial area was 2.0, in the periocular area the maximum was 1.62 and the perioral area maximum was 1.38.

"We also assessed cheek laxity and the maximum improvement for that was 2.0.

"It was interesting that maximum improvement was seen at three months in the nasolabial/mesiolabial, periocular and perioral areas, whereas it took six months for improvement of cheek laxity to be fully realized," Dr. Alster says.

She adds, those results are consistent with the slow and progressive improvement that's often seen after any nonablative treatment with a slow and progressive collagen remodeling and a restructuring of the skin.

Patient satisfaction

The study also included patient satisfaction surveys, which Dr. Alster indicates mirrored the clinical improvements observed. Side effects were mild and limited to transient erythema and edema. No scarring or pigmentary alterations were noted. Although the effect on the rhytids was deemed "modest," Dr. Alster describes the results as actually "pretty good."

"When you consider the fact that most of the clinical improvement scores ranged from 1.5 to 2 (where 2 represented upwards of 50 percent improvement), that's pretty much in line with other nonablative systems," she explains.

Dr. Alster says she was a bit surprised, however, by the tightening of the skin.