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    Non-Fractional Broadband Infrared Light for:
    Acne Scarring                         - Preliminary Results
    Ilaria Ghersetich M.D. , Daisy Kopera M.D. ,
    Jean Luc Levy M.D. , and Mario A Trelles M.D.

                                                        two weeks and three months after the
    Presented at (ESLAS),
    the European Society                                fourth treatment for evaluation of the skin
    for Laser Aesthetic Surgery meeting                 tightening effect. Scar depth was
    Graz, Austria June 2006.                            measured with a 3d-profilometry attached
    Address for Correspondence:
                                                        computer soft ware (Aphrodite®).
    Ilaria Ghersetich, M. D.,                           Results: Two weeks after the forth
    Department of Dermatology, University of Florence
    Via della Pergola 60                                treatment the average value of the scar
    50121 Florence Italy                                depth measured by 3d profilometry
    Tel. +39-055-2758998
    e-mail:                changed from 738,4 ? to 587,2 ?; three
                                                        months after the value of the same scar
                                                        for each subjects showed an improvement
Summary                                                 up to 416,7?. No adverse effects were
Background: Acne is a common                            documented and global standard of
condition that may result in permanent,                 compliance could be considered good.
disfiguring scars. Over the past several                Conclusion: Non-Fractional controlled
decades, numerous surgical and non-                     broadband near infrared light (800 nm to
surgical techniques have been used to                   1.800 nm wavelength) is a safe and
improve the appearance of scars. Recently               effective novel approach to non-invasive
non ablative light or laser therapy have                skin remodelling which consistently
been proposed to improve the appearance                 determines an improvement of depressed
of acne scars, making it an ideal method                acne scars. Key words: infrared light,
for patients seeking a minimal invasive                 broadband, non-invasive, skin
procedure with an excellent safety profile.             remodelling, acne scars.
Objective: To prove the ability of a novel
system emitting non-fractional controlled               Introduction
broadband near infrared light (Novaplus,                Acne is a common disorder that may
Ultramed, Geneva, Switzerland) for non-                 result in permanent scars. Recently a
invasive skin tightening by deep dermal                 simple and universally applicable
heating and fibroblast stimulation.                     classification system has been proposed
Material and Methods: Twenty                            for acne scars, which have been divided
volunteers were treated four times with a               into 3 basic types: Icepick scars, rolling
two-week interval between treatments.                   scars and boxcar scars (1) Icepick scars
Near infrared light in the 800 nm to 1.800              are narrow, deep, sharply emarginated
nm part of the spectrum was applied in                  epithelial tracts that extend vertically to
doubled chopped pulses at an average                    the deep dermis or subcutaneous tissue.
fluence of 28 J/cm². Clinical photography               Their depth is below that reached with
and three-dimensional in vivo optical skin              conventional skin resurfacing options and
imaging was conduced at baseline and                    complete recovery is usually impossible.

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Rolling scars occur from dermal tethering      wanted improvement of their depressed
of skin. Abnormal fibrous anchoring of the     acne scarring. All patients had different
dermis to the subcutis leads to superficial    kinds of depressed scars on their face,
shadowing and a rolling appearance to          but icepick scars were not considered in
the overlying skin. Although they tend to      our study, . All participants before the
be shallow, the sub dermal tether              first treatment gave informed consent.
precludes treatment from the surface           Standardized digital picture assessment
above. Correction of the sub dermal            and three-dimensional in vivo optical skin
component is essential for treatment           imaging (3D-profilometry) of one
success.                                       selected scar was performed at baseline,
Boxcar scars are round or oval                 15 days and three months after the last
depressions with sharply demarcated            treatment. Scar depth was measured by
vertical edges. They are clinically wider at   a 3d-profilometry attached computer soft
the surface than icepick scars; they may       ware (Aphrodite®). Treatments of both
be shallow (0.1-0.5 mm) or deep (>0.5          cheeks and chin (according to the area
mm). Shallow boxcar scars are within the       where scars were evident) were
dermal reach of skin resurfacing               conducted without use of any
treatments, but deeper boxcar scars do         anaesthetic.
not improve in absence of a full thickness
treatment technique.
A variety of approaches are available for      Non-fractional Infrared
revision of each of the 3 scar types. Most     light source
of them are surgical or invasive               A new concept of non-fractional
procedures that may have a long and            controlled broadband light (Novaplus,
unacceptable downtime for some patients        Ultramed, Geneva, Switzerland) emitting
(2). Moreover all resurfacing treatments       at three different sections of the light
usually require a sub surfacing “filling” to   spectrum: i) 800 to 1.800nm near
correct the depression. One of the newest      infrared, for deep dermal heating and
trends of scar treatment has been the          fibroblast stimulation; ii) 500 to 800nm,
development of no ablative light or laser      for the treatment of vascular lesions; iii)
systems that determine a collagen              600 to 1.000nm, for hair removal and for
remodelling effect that can achieve a          improvement of pigmented lesions. The
consistent improvement of depressed            energy densities that may be applied
acne scars. In our study we have proven        range from 10 J/cm² to 45 J/cm². The
the ability of a novel system emitting non-    light pulses may be applied in differently
fractional controlled broadband near           chopped modes at durations of 5 ms to
infrared light (Novaplus, Ultramed,            3.000 ms. All types of application use the
Geneva, Switzerland) for non invasive skin     same hand piece using a spot size of 6
tightening by deep dermal heating and          cm² (40x15mm) with no need of filters.
fibroblast activation.                         To avoid epidermal injury contact cooling
                                               is integrated in the hand piece, being
Material and Methods                           able to cool the skin surface down to
Study design                                   minus 50C to +50C (+50C used in routine
20 volunteers (13 females, 7 males) aged       treatments).
25 to 43 years were recruited. All of them     For skin tightening infrared light from 800

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nm to 1.800 nm can be applied in pulses
at fluence from 21 J/cm² to 45 J/cm². At
                                                    The concept of skin remodelling through
increasing fluencies the pulses may cause
                                                    non-ablative light sources has developed
a burning sensation in the dermis,
                                                    rapidly during the last few years. It is
therefore in most cases 28-31 J/cm² were
used as they were tolerated by the                  widely accepted that these treatments
patients without local anaesthesia. The             should be integrated in daily practice to
particular burst mode, which can be                 take care of the cutaneous aging process,
modified by a simple operation on the               but only a few reports exist regarding the
software, chops the pulse into a series of          possibility to treat with the same concept
mini pulses. Burst pulse widths are of 3            depressed acne scars. From a biological
ms to 6 ms, with 20 ms interval between pulses at   point of view the concept of collagen
0.5 Hz.                                             remodelling which is the goal of every
                                                    skin rejuvenation treatment could be also
                                                    be applied for acne scar depressions.
Results                                             Moreover we should consider that the
All investigators on the basis of
                                                    treatment of acne scars is often
standardized clinical pictures undertook a
                                                    frustrating even with more invasive
subjective analysis individually. The
                                                    modalities, like laser resurfacing or
analysis was undertaken preoperatively
                                                    subcutaneous incision, with major pain
and 2 and 12 weeks postoperatively. A
                                                    and long down time for the patients.
significant improvement of the scars was
                                                    Expectations are usually not achieved
observed by all of us, but grading the
                                                    with a not satisfactory global compliance.
improvement was extremely difficult.
                                                    Non-ablative skin tightening has the
Moreover, we should expect a clinical
                                                    advantage to be relatively painless, with
improvement continuing for 6 months or
                                                    no risks of adverse reactions and with no
more after the treatment.
                                                    down time. Various light sources have
It is clear that an independent, unbiased
                                                    been encountered stimulating fibroblasts
observer would be more beneficial to
                                                    to produce new collagen. Clinical research
analyse objective data.
Three-dimensional in vivo optical                   was busy to evaluate the benefits of
profilometry was used to analyse the                different methods dealing with
effects of the treatment protocol. In Table         innumerable systems. 3, 4, 5
I results are reported. At baseline the             Improvement in the appearance of photo
median value of the selected scar depth             damaged skin after treatment with most
by using a 3d-profilometry attached                 these devices is associated to a sub-
computer soft ware (Aphrodite®) was                 threshold light induced injury to the
738,4µ Two weeks after the forth                    dermis and/or the dermal vessels, which
treatment the median of the same scar               leads to a wound-repair response,
depth for each patient was 587.2µ. After            characterized by fibroblast stimulation
3 months the median of the same scar                and new collagen production. Judgement
measured 416,7µ.                                    of the results that have been gained with
Statistical analysis of the data according          these efforts was not always easy and by
to Anova with 65repeated measure tests              far not always significant. 6 Objective
showed high significance of                         methods for the evaluation of the clinical
improvements.                                       results had to be found in order to give

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prove of the benefit of non-invasive
surface remodelling. 7
This study was designed to prove that
non-fractional broadband near infrared
light of a certain intensity applied in
chopped pulses will improve the clinical
appearance of atrophic acne scars. Three-
dimensional in vivo optical skin imaging
provided a rapid and quantitative
assessment of skin surface of acne scars
before and after four treatment sessions.
The results of our study showed high
statistical significantly (Anova repeated
measure test). Patients should be informed
that the collagen remodelling response is
delayed and that maximum results are
seen only after 3 months or even more,
but the relatively simple and acceptable
procedure lead them willing to participate
to a long term program of skin recovery.

The results of this pilot study suggest that
non-fractional controlled broadband near
infrared light (800 nm to 1.800 nm
wavelength) applied in chopped pulses at a
fluency of 28 to 31 J/cm² is a safe and
effective novel approach to non invasive
skin treatment of acne scars. Further
controlled studies with larger numbers of
patients, perhaps a larger number of
treatment sessions, and a longer follow up
period are necessary to establish the exact
mechanism of action of infrared light in
skin collagen remodelling.

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Page 5

Results of 3 d optical profilometry on 20 patients with acne scarring

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Acne scarring of a patient before treatment

                                before                      after

Improvement of acne scarring 15 days after the treatment.

                                before                      after

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Acne scarring of a patient before treatment

                                before        after

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    Page 8

1 Jacob CI, Dover JS, Kaminer MS Acne
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2 Garret AB, Dufresne RG, Ratz JL, Berlin
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Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2003;5: 310-315.

6 Kopera D, Smolle J, Kaddu S, Kerl H.
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Dermatologists. Brit J Dermatol 2004, 150:

7 Levy JL, Trelles M, Servant JJ, Agopian L.
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with an 810 nm diode laser. J Cosmet
Laser Ther. 2004; 6:11-15.

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