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Abstract

Background

Melasma treatment modalities including topical and procedural therapy have been employed with variable results and high recurrence rate.

Objective

To quantitatively assess improvement in melasma and side effects after 1410 nm fractional photothermolysis laser treatments and to determine efficacy at 1-, 2- and 3-month follow-up after treatment.

Methods

Thirty volunteers with melasma were treated with 1410 nm fractional photothermolysis for four passes on full face and additional four passes on melasma area. They were randomly treated on one side of their face with 20 mJ at 5% coverage and the other side of their face with 20 mJ at 20% coverage. All subjects were treated monthly for five times. Melanin index, Visual analogue scale and Melasma Area and Severity Index score were measured at baseline and 1-, 2- and 3-month follow-up after complete treatment protocol.

Results

There was statistically significant improvement of Melanin index at 2- and 3-month follow-up visits, but not at 1-month follow-up visit. Visual analogue scale and Melasma Area and Severity Index score improved significantly on both sides at 1-, 2- and 3-month follow-ups. The overall patients' satisfaction was significantly higher on the side treated with 20 mJ, 5% coverage. Adverse reactions included erythema, dryness and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation on melasma area. Those side effects were significantly more intense on the side treated with 20 mJ, 20% coverage.

Conclusions

1410 nm fractional photothermolysis laser treatment is a safe and temporary effective procedure for melasma; however, long-term follow-up is still needed. Only 5% coverage should be used to minimize risks of adverse effects.