Comparison of Q-switched Nd: YAG laser and fractional carbon dioxide laser for the treatment of solar lentigines in Asians

Lasers Surg Med. 2016 Apr;48(4):354-9. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22472. Epub 2016 Jan 12.


Background/objective: Solar lentigines are benign pigmented lesions that occur mostly on sun-exposed areas. Q-switched and ablative lasers are effective for removing these lesions but the high incidence of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation raises concern in darker skin types. The objective of this study is to compare the efficacy and degree of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation with the Q-switched Nd:YAG and fractional carbon dioxide (CO2 ) laser for treatment of solar lentigines in Asians.

Study design: Twenty-five Thai patients (skin phototype III-IV) with at least two lesions of solar lentigines on upper extremities were enrolled in this study. Two lesions were randomly selected for the treatment with a single session of Q-switched Nd:YAG or fractional CO2 laser. Outcomes were evaluated using physician grading scale, colorimeter, and patient self-assessment at 6 and 12 weeks after treatment. Side effects were recorded.

Results: A total of 532 nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser showed significant improvement of pigmentation over fractional CO2 laser at 6th and 12th week by both colorimeter assessment and physician grading scale (P < 0.05). No significant difference in postinflammatory hyperpigmentation from both lasers was observed. In terms of patient self-assessment, 80% of the patients treated with 532 nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser had excellent results compared to 8% in fractional CO2 laser group. However, fractional CO2 laser treatment had faster healing time and less pain score compared to Q-switched Nd:YAG laser.

Conclusions: Q-switched Nd:YAG is superior to fractional CO2 laser for treatment of solar lentigines but requires longer healing time and produces more pain. The incidence of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation was not significantly different with both lasers. Further studies are needed to obtain the proper parameter and the treatment frequency of fractional CO2 laser in solar lentigines.

Keywords: Q-switched Nd:YAG; age spots; fractional carbon dioxide; hyperpigmentation; laser; solar lentigo.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / diagnosis
  • Hyperpigmentation / etiology*
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use*
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use*
  • Lentigo / ethnology
  • Lentigo / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Thailand
  • Treatment Outcome