Background: Alopecia areata is a rapid and complete loss of hair in one or several patches, usually on the scalp, affecting both males and females equally. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease which is treated with different modalities with variable success. Laser treatment of different wavelengths has been used in the management of this problem.
Objective: To study the effect of the pulsed infrared diode laser (904 nm) in the treatment of alopecia areata.Methods. Sixteen patients with 34 resistant patches that had not responded to different treatment modalities for alopecia areata were enrolled in this study. In patients with multiple patches, one patch was left as a control for comparison. Patients were treated on a four-session basis, once a week, with a pulsed diode laser (904 nm) at a pulse rate of 40/s. A photograph was taken of each patient before and after treatment.
Results: The treated patients were 11 males (68.75%) and five females (31.25%). Their ages ranged between 4 and 50 years with a mean of 26.6+/-SD of +/-13.8, and the durations of their disease were between 12 months and 6 years with a mean of 13.43+/-SD of +/-18.34. Regrowth of hair was observed in 32 patches (94%), while only two patches (6%) failed to show any response. No regrowth of hair was observed in the control patches. The regrowth of hair appeared as terminal hair with its original color in 29 patches (90.6%), while three patches (9.4%) appeared as a white villous hair. In patients who showed response, the response was detected as early as 1 week after the first session in 24 patches (75%), while eight patients (25%) started to show response from the second session.
Conclusion: The pulsed infrared diode laser is an effective mode of therapy with a high success rate for resistant patches of alopecia areata.