Background Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic and often a recalcitrant inflammatory skin condition.
Objectives To present the results of carbon dioxide (CO2) laser treatment of recalcitrant HS in nine patients who had failed to improve on medical and other surgical treatments.
Methods HS lesions consisting of abscesses, sinuses and granulation tissue were completely excised using the cutting mode of a CO2 laser, leaving only healthy residual subcutaneous fat. The wounds were closed by primary intention where possible and left to granulate otherwise. Outcomes were determined by clinical review and questionnaire.
Results Twenty-seven sites were treated in 19 sessions on nine patients. Seven procedures were performed under general anaesthesia and 12 under local. All patients rated their postoperative discomfort as less or equal to their preoperative state. Seven of the nine patients had complete remission for 12 months or longer after their last laser treatment and ceased all medications. High levels of patient satisfaction were reported with CO2 laser treatment. The main complication was axillary scar contracture in two patients but this was insufficient to limit limb movement.
Conclusions CO2 laser treatment should be considered as a treatment option in recalcitrant HS, where multiple medical treatments have been ineffective.