PSF reduces the pain of Pulsed Dye Laser

Written by on September 16, 2009 in laser therapy, pulse dye laser with 0 Comments

This just published abstract from Lasers in Medical Science, shows that the extreme pain associated with pulsed dye laser, when used to treat port wine stains, can be relieved by using Pneumatic Skin Flattening (PSF).

Pneumatic Skin Flattening uses a vacuum to compress the skin underneath the area being treated. Blood is eliminated from the treatment area. The technique is said to block pain naturally. One more more technical explanation for this effect is “The rational for applying negative pressure is the well-documented afferent inhibition of sensory nerves in the dorsal horn by activating tactile pressure nerves in a sufficiently large surrounding area.”

Note that this study relates to a treatment not directly related to the sorts of treatment regimes that are commonly associated with rosacea. Nonetheless any technique that reduces the pain of laser treatments is good news for rosacea sufferers.

Reduction of pain in the treatment of vascular lesions with a pulsed dye laser and pneumatic skin flattening, Lasers Med Sci. 2009 Jul;24(4):617-20, Lanigan S, Birmingham Skin Centre, City Hospital, Birmingham, UK.

The treatment of vascular lesions, including port wine stains (PWSs), with a pulsed dye laser is very painful and often requires general anaesthesia. This is particularly problematic with children.

Pneumatic skin flattening (PSF) is a new technology that naturally reduces pain in laser-based aesthetic treatments. The objective of this study was to test pain reduction, as well as lesional clearance, by combining pneumatic skin flattening (PSF) technology with a pulsed dye laser in the treatment of vascular lesions.

Twenty-one patients (three of them children) were treated for vascular lesions, mostly PWSs (13 patients). The patients were treated with a 595 nm pulsed dye laser operated at energies of 5.75–13.25 (median 9.25) J/cm2.

Acute pain was evaluated in all 21 patients. Topical anaesthetic (EMLA cream) was applied before treatment in six cases. Identical energies were applied to both sites. The pain during PSF treatment was compared to pain during regular treatment without PSF. Blanching response to treatment was evaluated in 18 patients after 6–12 weeks.

Significant pain reduction was observed in 21/21 patients (100%). The average reduction in pain score was from 10 without PSF (painful) to 2.6 with PSF (comfortable).

Follow-up examination of 18 patients after 6–12 weeks showed identical blanching of tissue in both the PSF-treated areas and those not treated with PSF in all patients. It was concluded that the PSF technology significantly reduced pain in the treatment of vascular lesions with a pulsed dye laser without affecting efficacy.

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Read more about: laser therapy, pulse dye laser

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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