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Prospective Controlled Trial for the Treatment of Acne Keloidalis Nuchae With a Long-Pulsed Neodymium-Doped Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet Laser.

BACKGROUND: Acne keloidalis nuchae (AKN) is a chronic scarring folliculitis with limited interventions of both high efficacy and low morbidity.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of the long-pulsed 1064-nm neodymium-doped yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG) laser and topical steroids as a treatment for AKN compared to topical steroids alone.

METHODS: We conducted a single-blinded, randomised, within-patient right-left controlled trial (n = 13). Eight monthly laser treatments were performed on the treated half of the scalp, and triamcinolone 0.1% cream was applied to both sides twice daily. Treatment response was measured using a global assessment score (0 to 10).

RESULTS: The laser-treated side showed greater improvement in global assessment score. The mean change was -3.2 (-49.2%) on the treated side and -2.2 (-32.8%) on the control side ( P = .144). Papules responded well to laser treatment, while larger plaques and nodules showed limited improvement. In the 10 patients with papules only, the difference in improvement between the treated and control sides was statistically significant (mean change was -3.5 [-59.3%] for the treated side and -1.8 [-29.5%] for the control side, P = .031).

LIMITATIONS: This study was limited by a small sample size and a high dropout rate, as well as the lack of a standardised scoring system for AKN.

CONCLUSION: The long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser in conjunction with topical steroids shows promising results in the treatment of AKN, particularly the papular component, and is well tolerated by patients.

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