Combined treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa with intense pulsed light (IPL) and radiofrequency (RF)

J Dermatolog Treat. 2019 Oct 17;1-8. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2019.1677842. Online ahead of print.


Background: Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic inflammatory disease with high burden. Treatment options are often unsatisfactory. We assessed the effect of a combination therapy of intense pulsed light (IPL) and radiofrequency (RF). Methods: The explorative study included 47 patients and was performed as a prospective, monocentric, randomized, three-arm parallel-group design trial with a prior 12 weeks observation period. Treatment arms were IPL and RF monotherapies or IPL + RF combination therapy. After 12 weeks, all patients received IPL + RF for additional 12 weeks (cross-over). Primary endpoint was the change in active lesion numbers, secondary endpoint the change in Dermatology Quality of Life Index (DLQI). Results: After 12 weeks, active lesion counts of the IPL + RF group decreased more than in the IPL group (p = .044); the decrease in DLQI was significantly higher in the IPL + RF and RF groups compared to IPL. Prolonged 24-week treatment with IPL + RF obtained better results as 12 weeks. Overall, disease burden after 24 weeks of treatment compared to disease fluctuation during the observation period was significantly lower (change in active lesions -3.6, p = .001; in DLQI -5.2, p = .003). Conclusions: IPL + RF treatment appears to represent a promising therapeutic option that leads to reduction of disease activity without severe side effects.

Keywords: Hidradenitis suppurativa; intense pulsed light; noninvasive; radiofrequency.