Noninvasive wound closure with an ablative fractional Erbium:YAG laser resulted in significant skin tightening, according to an animal study in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.
The authors note that ablative fractional laser treatment is effective in stimulating tissue remodeling due to thousands of extremely small laser beam wounds damaging a fraction of the skin. However, the amount of skin tightening attained is limited with open micro-wounds. Therefore, the hypothesis for the study was that by immediately and temporarily closing fractional laser wounds with a compression closure, skin tightening would be improved.
The study included four adult swine, each of whom had 98 square test sites (3 x 3 cm) tattooed on their abdomen and flanks. They examined laser treatment with and without closure and mechanical coring treatment with and without closure.
In the laser treatment group, researchers used the Sciton Profile laser, with a micro-spot fluence of 375 J/cm2 delivered in 150 - 250 micropulses. This allowed an array of ablation channels to extend 1.5 mm deep into the skin, along with a spot size of 250 microns and a 10% treatment density. Immediately after laser exposure, a stretched elastic adhesive dressing was applied to the treatment group that recoiled and compressed the diameter of the ablation holes. These compressive dressings were removed after 7 days.
In the mechanical coring group, researchers removed of the same amount (10%) of skin using specially designed 19-gauge coring needles. The same elastic adhesive dressing was applied to the treatment group.
Test sites were measured by digital photography before laser treatment and at 28 days, accounting for animal growth. All treated sites healed within 1 week and there was no scarring observed at 28 days.
The researchers found that the treated skin area was reduced by 11.5%. This shrinkage was similar to mechanically removing skin by needle coring with wound closure (8%). But laser and needle coring without closure failed to show a significant area reduction compared to untreated control sites.
Further clinical studies are needed, though, to confirm laser results in humans, according to the authors.