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Treatment of striae rubra and striae alba with the 585-nm pulsed-dye laser.

BACKGROUND: The treatment of striae distensae has recently been reported with various lasers such as the 585-nm pulsed dye laser. At lower fluences (2.0 to 4.0 J/cm2), this laser has been purported to increase the amount of collagen in the extracellular matrix.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the 585-nm pulsed dye laser is effective in both striae rubra and striae alba after two treatments and, in addition, to determine whether there is a net effect on collagen density in treated samples.

METHODS: Twenty patients (skin types II to VI) with either striae rubra (9) or striae alba (11) were treated at baseline and at week 6. The total length of the study was 12 weeks. Untreated striae on the same patient were used as control subjects. Striae clinical parameters such as color and area were measured before the first and after the last treatment by an independent examiner using a visual analog scale. A hydroxyproline assay was used to measure collagen changes in two of the striae quantitatively.

RESULTS: The 585 nm had a moderate beneficial effect in reducing the degree of erythema in striae rubra. There was no apparent clinical change on striae alba. Total collagen per gram of dry weight of sampled tissue increased in striae treated with pulsed dye laser versus control subjects.

CONCLUSION: We recommend the use of the 585-nm pulsed dye laser for striae rubra in patients skin types II to IV. Extreme caution or avoidance should be observed in pulsed dye laser treatments for patients with phototypes V to VI even with the use of low fluences. Tissue collagen changes measured may be an early change, which precedes significant clinical improvement.

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