Laser tattoo removal with use of a perfluorodecalin (PFD)-infused patch allowed significantly more passes during a 5-minute treatment session, in a randomized trial of 30 adults.
In the study, published online in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, an average of 3.7 laser treatment passes (range 2-4) were used when the laser was combined with a PFD-infused patch during a 5-minute session, compared with an average of 1.4 passes (range 1-3) with the laser alone (P less than .0001).
“Laser-assisted tattoo removal is generally regarded as safe and effective, but the procedure is subject to several important limitations,” wrote Brian S. Biesman, MD, and Cara Costner, RN, FNP, who practice in Nashville, Tenn. These limitations include the need to wait for epidermal whitening to dissipate between laser passes, but “one strategy for improving the efficiency of laser-assisted tattoo removal involves the topical use of an optical clearing agent to reduce the epidermal whitening effect,” they explained.
Dr. Brian Biesman
“Topical use of PFD reduces optical scattering at the skin surface, which helps to improve energy delivery to the tattoo ink in deeper layers of the skin and may reduce the potential of epidermal injury and treatment-related AEs,” they added (Lasers Surg Med. 2017 March 20. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22659).
They enrolled 16 women and 14 men seeking tattoo removal in the randomized, split-area study. The mean age of the subjects was 37 years; most were Fitzpatrick skin type II or III. One side of each tattoo was treated with the 755-nm Q-Switched Alexandrite nanosecond laser alone, and the other half was treated with the same laser through the PFD patch.
Patients’ reports of pain based on the Visual Analog Scale were approximately one point lower on the areas treated with the laser and the patch compared with the laser alone. Compared with the laser-only areas, a lower proportion of the areas treated with the patch were affected by edema (36.7% vs. 63.3%) or erythema (33.3% vs. 70%). None of the patients had hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation. “All AEs [adverse events] were transient and had resolved by the 1-month follow-up visit,” at which time all 30 patients said they preferred to continue their tattoo removal using the PFD patch, the investigators wrote.
The findings were limited by several factors, including the use of a single laser and the predominance of black or dark blue tattoos, as well as the lack of patients with darker skin types. However, “incorporation of the PFD patch into laser tattoo removal procedures may afford multiple benefits to the patient and provider, including increased efficiency, improved patient safety, fewer AEs associated with epidermal injury, and protection of the patient and provider from tissue splatter and laser plume,” the authors concluded.
Dr. Biesman disclosed grant support, honoraria, or consulting fees from Allergan, Cutera, Cytrellis, Evolus Galderma, Intraderm, Merz, ON Light Sciences, Revance, Sienna, Suneva, Syneron-Candela, Valeant, and Zeltiq. The study was sponsored by ON Light Sciences.