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Expert Panel Gives Mixed Reviews on New Skin Surgery Technologies

(press reslease from ASDS)

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) Issues Reports Covering Four New Technologies

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., – An expert panel today commissioned by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery today issued four reports, based on available evidence, to advise the nation’s dermasurgeons about potential benefits and risks of specific, newer technologies and procedures.

In conclusion:

  • Dermasurgeons should be aware of possible complications when considering an infrared laser for treating facial wrinkles and a radiofrequency energy device for tightening lax skin
  • A new procedure for removing pre-cancerous lesions is low risk and highly effective
  • A low-light-level device for treating sun-damaged may not offer benefits vs. topical agents
  • A monopolar radiofrequency device can achieve skin tightening in most patients.

According to panel chair George Hruza, MD, ASDS Technology Reports are a new service to inform dermasurgeons about newer technologies and treatments. “We review published data and anecdotal information to produce concise reports to help busy practitioners make decisions about new technologies. The reports do not carry the endorsement of ASDS, but are designed to help members use their best professional judgment,” he said.

The reviewed technology for removing facial wrinkles, called fractional photothermolysis,an infrared laser to make microscopic burns spaced slightly apart to limit complications from traditional laser resurfacing surgery, such as scarring, infection and prolonged discoloration or burns. Though no adverse events from this procedure have been reported in the literature, the ASDS panel noted that fractional resurfacing is not as effective in removing wrinkles, and patients should be aware the procedure has some risk of laser-related adverse events.

The report about a topical photodynamic agent, Levulan, for removing pre-cancerous lesions, called actinic keratoses (AK), was more favorable. The cream is applied to the lesion and a light source is used to activate it. The panel described the treatment as an excellent method for removing AK. It is also being employed for skin rejuvenation and acne therapy, the panel said controlled studies are needed to validate its efficacy for these conditions.

A new method for treating sun-damaged or photoaged skin, called LED photo rejuvenation, uses low-light-level therapy for mild reduction of photoaging. The experts said it could become another method for incremental improvement of sun-damaged skin, but the degree of improvement may not be significant enough to switch from topical agents, which don’t require frequent office visits.

The fourth ASDS technology report evaluated monopolar radiofrequency for tightening loose skin. The technology applies radiofrequency energy through which heat is generated by the skin’s natural resistance to the electric current, causing immediate collagen contraction and gradual skin tightening. The procedure can be painful, however, and some complications have been reported. The report concludes that monopolar RF can achieve mild to moderate skin tightening in most patients.

According to ASDS President Rhoda S. Narins, a New York-based dermasurgeon, “This information is crucial to our members who want to be on the cutting-edge of new treatments and devices for their patients. Our panel of experts will continue to issue technology reports on an as-needed basis.”

Founded in 1970, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery is the largest specialty organization in the world exclusively representing dermasurgeons, board-certified physicians who are specifically trained to treat the health, function and appearance of the skin and soft tissue with both medically necessary and cosmetic procedures, using surgical and non-surgical methods. For more information on medical or cosmetic skin procedures, and referrals to ASDS members in your state, log on at www.asds.net or contact the ASDS Consumer Hotline, 1-800-441-ASDS (2737), during weekday business hours.

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