Plasmakinetic resurfacing: Versatility, excellent safety profile

September 1, 2006

National report - Plasmakinetic resurfacing offers a unique versatility in skin rejuvenating options, ranging from lighter, nonablative treatments to deeper ablative resurfacing for problems such as acne scars or deep lines.

National report - Plasmakinetic resurfacing offers a unique versatility in skin rejuvenating options, ranging from lighter, nonablative treatments to deeper ablative resurfacing for problems such as acne scars or deep lines.

For ablative uses, what truly sets the technique apart from the CO2 or erbium devices, however, is an excellent safety profile and rapid post-treatment healing, says Edgar F. Fincher, M.D., Ph.D., clinical instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine.

With approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for multiple applications, including facial rhytides, actinic keratosis and benign skin lesions, plasmakinetic resurfacing with the Portrait PSR3 System (Rhytec) has been shown in studies to significantly improve wrinkles, improve skin tone and texture pigmentation and provide immediate skin contraction.

"You can use it for low-energy peel, or turn it all the way up to the three or four joules range to use as a deep-resurfacing device," Dr. Fincher says.

For a low-energy "plasma peel," Dr. Fincher suggests a series of two to three treatments, three to four weeks apart.

"Patients typically heal after about three to four days of erythema and are then back to normal," he tells Dermatology Times.

For deeper, more aggressive resurfacing treatments, the Portrait can be used in single treatments to help treat acne scars or deep lines, and can be used with various types of anesthesia.

Importantly, the heat from plasma desiccates the tissue, but does not vaporize the epidermis, which explains the significantly improved rapid healing process, Dr. Fincher says.

"The epidermis remains intact, so you have this biologic dressing that is in place, and that helps with the quick healing you get with this device," he says.

Specifically, plasma is ionized gas, and is the fourth state of matter. Nitrogen plasma is generated inside a handpiece by UFH energy that excites a flow of nitrogen gas.

The Portrait method generates zonal thermal damage and zonal thermal modification, with treatment at settings over two joules passing below the epidermis and into the dermis to break down photodamaged tissue and to stimulate tissue remodeling.

By about day four following treatment, a new epidermis has already formed, and by day 10, fibroblasts are increased and the tissue remodeling cascade has started, Dr. Fincher explains.

He adds that the PSR3 system is a portable, small unit, and he has seen significant improvement with the use of the device in the periorbital region, in particular.

"This offers rapid healing; it has an excellent safety profile and lots of versatility, all in one unit," Dr. Fincher says.

Disclosure: Dr. Fincher has received teaching honoraria from Rhytec for instructional courses.