Treatment of Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra in 10 Patients: A Comparison Trial of Electrodesiccation, Pulsed Dye Laser, and Curettage


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Daniel B. Eisen, MD, Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, 3301 C Street, Suite 1400, Sacramento, CA 95816, or e-mail:


BACKGROUND Dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPN) is a common variant of seborrheic keratoses in darkly pigmented individuals. Treatment options include cryosurgery, curettage, electrosurgery, and shave removal.

OBJECTIVE To compare the efficacy and complications of pulsed dye laser (PDL) therapy for the treatment of DPN with those of curettage and electrodesiccation.

METHODS AND MATERIALS Randomized, controlled, single-center, evaluator-blinded trial of 10 patients with at least four clinically diagnosed lesions.

RESULTS All 10 patients completed the study. Mean lesion clearance was 96% for curettage, 92.5% for electrodesiccation, and 88% for laser. There was no significant difference between the three treatment modalities. All three techniques had an overall cosmetic outcome of good for most patients. Five of the 10 patients preferred electrodesiccation. Patients rated the laser as the most painful treatment method. The most common adverse outcome was hyperpigmentation. There were no significant differences between the treatment groups for any of the measured outcomes.

CONCLUSION The efficacy of PDL in the treatment of DPN is not significantly different from the already established treatment modalities of electrodesiccation and curettage.

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.