Author(s): Chan NP, Ho SG, Shek SY, Yeung CK, Chan HH
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: In recent years, "laser toning" using low fluence, large spot size, multiple passed Q-switched 1,064 nm Nd:YAG laser has gained much popularity in Asian countries for non-ablative skin rejuvenation and the treatment of melasma. This case series highlights one of the complications associated with laser toning, which is facial depigmentation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fourteen patients with laser toning-associated facial depigmentation were assessed with cross-polarized and ultraviolet (UV) photographic images. The laser toning regimens received by these patients, as well as the treatment given for depigmentation, were analyzed retrospectively. RESULTS: All 14 patients were Chinese females, 9 of whom received laser toning for non-ablative skin rejuvenation and the other 5 for melasma. The treatment regimens received by these patients were highly variable. The total number of treatments received ranged from 6 to 50 (mean 22.07). In all cases, UV photographic images demonstrated facial mottled depigmentation. Laser toning failed to significantly improve melasma in all five patients. Five patients received targeted narrowband UVB for depigmentation with good clinical results. CONCLUSIONS: Laser toning with low fluence Q-switched 1,064 nm Nd:YAG laser for skin rejuvenation and melasma can be associated with mottled depigmentation. With laser toning being frequently performed, this complication may become more commonly encountered in clinical practice. The depigmentation can appear after only a few treatment sessions, and can cause much disfigurement, especially in cases with background melasma. Further studies on laser toning are needed with the view to optimizing efficacy and minimizing side-effects. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in Lasers Surg Med
and referenced in Journal of Pigmentary Disorders