Treatment of psoriasis with light and heat energy (LHE): a preliminary study

Dermatol Online J. 2004 Oct 15;10(2):4.


In psoriasis the earliest observable electron microscopic changes are in the papillary dermis vasculature. Selective photothermolysis of the dermal vasculature using a 585-nm pulsed-dye laser (PDL) for the treatment of psoriasis was reported more than a decade ago. Although clinically effective, the pulsed-dye laser has limited practicality because of small spot size (5-10 mm) and lack of cost effectiveness. The objective of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a novel Light and Heat Energy (LHE) selective-photothermolysis system for the treatment of psoriasis. This system delivers controlled heat simultaneously with the light pulse; it has a large beam spot (55 x 22 mm) and is sufficiently cost effective to be widely used. Thirteen patients, seven with plaque psoriasis, five with palmoplantar psoriasis, and one with guttate psoriasis participated in a controlled study. Patients received two therapy regimens in parallel: LHE plus salicylic acid or salicylic-acid cream alone as control. Treatments were applied twice weekly spread evenly over 4-6 weeks. In most cases a fluence of 8.6 J/cm2 was applied. Efficacy of the treatment was assessed using the psoriasis-severity index (PSI) calculated from the investigator's overall assessment of the plaque's erythema, scaling, and induration. PSI was evaluated at baseline, at every other treatment visit, and during two follow-up visits scheduled 1 and 5 weeks following the last treatment. In eleven patients who completed the treatment regimen, the average global PSI score for the treated sites was reduced by 65 percent. In contrast, the control sites average global PSI score was reduced by only 7.4 percent. Six patients (55 %) had a significant improvement of 70-percent reduction or above in their PSI score, ten patients (91 %) had a 50 percent or above reduction; only one patient had a poor response (12.5 % reduction in global PSI). Erythema was reported in all cases and resolved within 24-48 hours. Six cases of burns were resolved within 2 days to 2 weeks following appropriate remedy. No cases of dyspigmentation were encountered. Light and Heat Energy (LHE) selective photothermolysis combined with salicylic acid appears to be a practical modality for the treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis. Patients experience discomfort that is only mild. There is no convalescence downtime. Clinical results obtained are similar to those reported with the pulsed-dye laser; however, this new system seems more suitable to be widely adopted as a treatment modality. Further followup is required to determine whether remission periods will be as long as those reported for treatment with the pulsed-dye laser.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy*
  • Psoriasis / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index