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Intense pulsed light in the treatment of striae distensae.

BACKGROUND: Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a noncoherent, nonlaser, filtered flashlamp, emitting a broadband visible light. Its efficacy has been reported recently in the treatment of photodamaged facial skin, promoting the production of neo collagen and ordering of elastic fibers. We don't know however, its efficacy in the treatment of striae distensae.

OBJECTIVE: To assess gross and microscopical changes that occur in the striae distensae when treated by IPL.

METHODS: A prospective study was carried out in 15 women, all of them having late stage striae distensae of the abdomen. Five sessions of IPL were performed in each one, once every two weeks. Skin biopsies and before and after photographs were taken of all the patients. Data concerning skin features (number of stretch marks in a square of 5 cm per side, sum of all the stretch marks to determine the total length, discolorations and general appearance) were all assessed before each session and at the end of the study. Microscopical changes were all carefully assessed. For the statistical analysis a "t" test for small samples was used.

RESULTS: All patients showed clinical and microscopical improvement in each one of the parameters assessed. The "t" test for small samples showed a statistically significative difference (p < 0.01) in the post treatment dermal thickness.

CONCLUSION: Striae distensae improved clinically and microscopically after IPL. It seems to be a promising method of treatment for this common problem with minimal side-effects, a wide safety margin and no downtime.

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